Operations and Standards

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How to create an Effective Merchandising Plan

It wasn’t too long ago that retailers and consumers were facing a plague of out-of-stock merchandise and empty shelves — on account of supply-chain disruptions in global retail. 

Times have certainly changed since then, and so have the challenges. A recent study shows that 50% of retailers in the U.S. are struggling with unsold inventory even after New Year discounting. What’s more, 53% of them believe there could be “dangerous ramifications” if they fail to sell the excess stock. 

The good news is, with proper planning, not only can you ensure that the right, in-demand products are available to customers when they need them, but also avoid ending up with excess inventory. This is where a merchandising plan can help. 

This article will guide you through the process of crafting an effective merchandising plan for your retail store.

Let’s get started.

What is a merchandising plan and why should retailers care?

According to Bob Phipps , CEO of The Retail Doctor, “ Merchandising is one of the most impactful strategies you can implement to influence a brick-and-mortar consumer and cause them to pause and consider.”  

He says when customers shop online, they can’t connect emotionally with the merchandise, so most often, they simply look for the cheapest option. However, when they take the trouble to visit a physical store, your display skills give you an opportunity to tell them, “it’s different here.”

“Then, they aren’t just looking for the cheapest but are open to having an emotional connection with your products that they can touch, hold, and try on,” he adds.

merchandising business plan sample

An effective merchandising plan can help you:

  • Increase sales by creating a visually appealing shopping experience that encourages customers to buy more
  • Manage inventory effectively by highlighting products that are popular and in demand
  • Build brand awareness by showcasing products in a way that reflects your brand values and image
  • Stay competitive by keeping up with the latest industry trends and customer preferences

Let’s now take a look at the different aspects of creating an effective merchandising plan.

Market research

Before creating a merchandising plan, it’s important to conduct market research to understand customer preferences and buying habits. Analyze your past sales data, market surveys, and industry trends to forecast consumer demand for the current season. 

This will help you figure out how much inventory you may need to order for each product. Remember to take into account the current state of the economy and the sales potential of an item in your calculations.

merchandising business plan sample

Product selection

Based on your target customer’s preferences and past sales data, you’ll need to figure out your product mix — product types, price range, and the number of SKUs for each. You should also think about how you’ll arrange your products on your store shelves. 

For example, placing similar products — say beach hats, swimwear, sunglasses, etc. — close to each other is a good way to ring in more sales. Display your most profitable products at eye level or at your endcaps as products placed in these locations generally sell better. 

merchandising business plan sample

Visual merchandising

Let’s face it. Shopping can be stressful for some — more so if customers can’t easily find what they are looking for. If your store is dirty, messy, or unorganized, you’re sure to send them packing, never to return. 

Retail consultant and influencer, Ian Scott , says, “If stores are poorly presented, all the hard work from marketing, advertising, sourcing, and construction is wasted because shoppers won’t be inspired at the final point of purchase.”

That’s why you should pay special attention to visual merchandising . Let’s take a look at some of its most crucial elements.

Store layout 

Whether you choose a loop, a grid, or a free-flow layout for your store, your goal should be to maximize the floor space so that customers can easily navigate your store and locate what they need. 

Also, make sure to incorporate design aesthetics and branding elements throughout your store to offer a fully immersive shopping experience to your customers. 

Specialist in retail and consumer behavior, Dr. Esther Pugh , says, “Space is invisible and intangible, yet its sensitive management is absolutely essential for creating atmosphere and ambience.”  

merchandising business plan sample

Signage 

In-store signage plays a crucial role in helping customers navigate your store , find the items they need, and perhaps even discover new products in the process. Typically, in-store signage is of three types: informational, navigational, and promotional. 

Most customers tend to have a short attention span, so make sure to incorporate smart visual cues that help them make a purchase decision quickly. 

For example, sometimes retailers use informational signs to convey the features of a product. While these may be useful, they may not be what it takes to sell. Instead, focusing on a product’s benefits or how it solves a particular challenge may be more effective.  

The secret to keeping your customers engaged and inspired is to change up your displays — at least every month. The simplest way to do this is to move around the location of your displays within the store. 

Use your displays to narrate a story or offer creative new ideas for using your products. It’s also a good idea to place your freshest, fanciest, dream-worthy impulse items prominently on display at the front of your store. 

merchandising business plan sample

Remember the old saying, “hope is not a management strategy”. So, don’t just hope that your signage and displays are properly put up,  inspect them regularly  and  assign corrective actions  when issues are found.

Pricing and promotion

Your job doesn’t end at getting people in through the door. You should determine your pricing strategy based on your target audience and the competition. It should be competitive, but also take into account your overhead costs and desired profit margins.

Also, plan your in-store advertising such as limited-time sales, special discounts, or seasonal events. Make sure to highlight any deals currently on offer or upcoming sales events to encourage customers to come back in the future.

Implementation and audit

Finally, you must ensure that the execution of your merchandising plan is on point. With a platform like Bindy , implementation of your merchandising plan won’t give you sleepless nights. 

You can put all the resources your team needs — customized checklists, best practice photos, and supporting documents — in one place for easier execution and management. Not only will you be able to track compliance in real-time but also take corrective action and uncover opportunities for staff training. 

Final words

An effective merchandising plan can go a long way in helping you outperform your competitors. In light of the current economic climate and the uncertainty associated with it, it’s even more crucial to get your merchandising plan right. 

Follow the tips mentioned above to craft a killer merchandising strategy and leverage Bindy to deploy and verify your program easily. Contact us today to learn more.

OTHER MERCHANDISING RESOURCES

Refer to the   Merchandising category  for checklists, how-tos and best practices for merchandising.

About the author:

merchandising business plan sample

Francesca Nicasio  is retail expert, B2B content strategist, and LinkedIn TopVoice. She writes about trends, tips, and best practices that enable retailers to increase sales and serve customers better. She’s also the author of  Retail Survival of the Fittest , a free eBook to help retailers future-proof their stores.

merchandising business plan sample

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Upmetrics AI Assistant: Simplifying Business Planning through AI-Powered Insights. Learn How

  • Sample Business Plans
  • Retail, Consumers & E-commerce

T-Shirt Business Plan

Executive summary image

If you’ve got a passion for t-shirt designs or a dream of starting your own t-shirt business, you’re in the right place.

And isn’t it exciting to know that the global t-shirt industry is booming?

The global custom t-shirt printing market was valued at $4.87 billion in 2021 and is anticipated to reach $10.37 billion by 2030 .

So, it’s clear that there is a lot of earnings in this exhilarating adventure of starting a successful t-shirt company.

Now that your idea is validated, have you thought about planning it before diving into execution? Whether you want external investment or not, our t-shirt business plan will help you in every step of your journey.

This step-by-step guide assists you through the process of creating a t-shirt brand that leaves a mark on potential investors or partners.

Let’s dive in and discover the essential elements to kickstart your t-shirt business plan writing.

Key Takeaways

  • Clearly identify your niche and establish your unique selling proposition(USP) that sets you apart from other t-shirt businesses.
  • Draft a persuasive executive summary that outlines your goals, marketing plan, and financial forecast to attract potential investors.
  • Make a realistic and strategic budget plan to assess startup costs and secure adequate financial funding.
  • Do thorough market research and industry analysis to get a better idea about fashion trends, consumer needs, and preferences.
  • Effectively promote your brand by developing a comprehensive sales and marketing approach.
  • Highlight the importance of high-quality fabrics to build trust and loyalty among customers.
  • Create a strong online presence to reach a wider audience and adhere to legal compliance to protect your brand.

How to write a business plan for a T-shirt Business?

1. get a business plan template.

Before you start writing a business plan for your t-shirt business, it is recommended to get a business plan template first.

It’s like having a guide that makes your business planning process more simpler and easier. It is a structured format and assists you in adding all the essential information to your plan.

However, you can effectively organize your thoughts and accurately draft a professional business plan according to your business requirements and preferences.

Not only that, a well-crafted business plan template helps you describe each section in detail with utmost care. And it will save you valuable time and effort.

Whether you are a newbie in the business world or looking for a polished template, choose Upmetrics’ business plan template now! It will be your go-to companion for a blossoming t-shirt business.

Our business plan template guides you through the essential elements of a T-shirt business plan and ensures that you present your business plan cohesively and professionally.

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2. Write an Executive Summary

The executive summary is a brief overview of your entire t-shirt printing business plan. It should feature an interesting description of your t-shirt business idea.

Try to summarize a few important topics of your business, from mission-vision statements to financial projections that will be explored in greater detail within the plan.

An executive summary should be clear, concise, and engaging as it attracts readers to delve further into your plan. Here’s how you can outline this section:

  • Business description
  • Market Opportunity
  • Products and services offered
  • Management team
  • Financial highlights

You can also add a 3-year profit forecast as it entices investors to delve further into your plan. Here is an example illustrating the profit margin for the t-shirt business:

profit margin for the t-shirt business

Lastly, conclude this section with a persuasive call to action for inviting potential investors or readers if they are curious about your business.

3. Provide a Company Overview

Now, it’s time to focus on key aspects of your t-shirt printing business that help you turn your idea into something real and concrete.

Provide all the basic details of your t-shirt company including

  • Name & concept of your business (a physical store or online t-shirt business)
  • Company structure & legal entity (sole proprietorship, Limited Liability Company (LLC), partnership firm, or some other)

Clearly define your business owners’ or partners’ names with the percentage of shares. And emphasize your passion for fashion and commitment to quality with mission and vision statements.

Here is an example of defining the mission statement of a t-shirt company using Upmetrics:

mission statement of a t-shirt company

Discuss a little bit more about the business history and how your company operates. Here, don’t forget to answer questions like:

  • When did you start your t-shirt business?
  • What is the purpose and long-term objective of your t-shirt brand?
  • What milestones have you accomplished? It could be the number of customers served, positive reviews, new t-shirt store openings, etc.

Also, represent any regulations or licensing requirements that affect your t-shirt company.

4. Conduct an Industry and Market Analysis

Starting a t-shirt business requires a strategic roadmap and a comprehensive t-shirt industry analysis. So, take some time to go further and locate more accurate data.

Consider answering the below questions to filter the most pertinent facts:

  • What is the relevant market size of the t-shirt printing business?
  • Is the market growing or dropping?
  • Who is your target audience, and what are the habits of your ideal consumer?
  • Who are the key players in the t-shirt printing industry?
  • What are the market trends affecting your business?
  • What is the potential growth forecast for the next 3-5 years?

This market research outlines a clear picture for planning every practical aspect of your business. Include below essential elements in your t-shirt business plan:

Market size and growth potential

It’s a major t-shirt market in the U.S. and it implies that there is an ongoing demand for new t-shirts. So, you need to explore specific data about various markets in which your company operates to ensure success and profitability.

It’s a well-diversified market as t-shirts are highly popular among an assortment of consumers. In 2023, the US t-shirt market revenue is projected to be $5.2 billion and is expected to grow annually by 3.56% (CAGR 2023-2027).

t-shirt business market size

This report depicts the size of the t-shirt business market and serves as a practical example of what to incorporate in this section of your business plan.

Target market

In this section, you can give details of the customers you serve or expect to serve. Conduct market research, define your ideal customer, and describe the types of products or services they prefer.

College students, sports lovers, soccer mothers, techies, teens, and baby boomers are a few examples of customer segments.

While creating a buyer persona, consider demographics, style preferences, buying behavior, and their needs. Also, illustrate how your t-shirt designs cater to specific market segments.

Competitive analysis

Now, it’s time to identify the top competitors in the t-shirt industry. Let’s categorize them into the following two parts:

  • Direct competitors can be other t-shirt businesses
  • Indirect competitors can be other types of shirts and apparel items

Analyze their strengths and weaknesses, and explain what differentiates your T-shirt brand from them in terms of design, quality, and brand identity.

Emphasize what are your competitive advantages in the market. You can also perform a SWOT analysis to find your business position. Here is an example of a SWOT analysis using Upmetrics:

SWOT analysis of t-shirt business

  • Market trends

The dynamics of the fashion industry and emerging market trends can potentially influence buying and selling patterns. So, make sure your t-shirt company will potentially cope with all the trends.

Refer to updates from fashion and business publications to get the latest insights into the current industry trends for t-shirt businesses.

5. Propose Your Product Offerings

Begin this section with a quick introduction to your T-shirt business’s product line. As per t-shirt designs, your t-shirt offerings can be any of the following:

  • Men’s t-shirts
  • Women’s t-shirts
  • Children’s t-shirts
  • Toddler’s t-shirts
  • Printed t-shirts
  • Customized t-shirts
  • Pet T-shirts for dogs and cats

Afterward, list each product with a relevant title and pricing information. Be transparent about the pricing strategies as positioned for premium, affordable, or mid-range.

Keep language simple that resonates with your target customer while crafting compelling descriptions and specifications of your t-shirt offerings or unique designs.

Ensure to accentuate the key features and fabrics used in the product descriptions. For specifications, summarize size options, material specifics, and available color variations.

Also, highlight the essence of what sets your t-shirts apart in the competitive market, whether it’s special t-shirt designs, eco-friendly materials, or a clear brand story.

Emphasize quality control measures, such as inspections or testing, that assure the durability and comfort of your products. Give clarity to potential customers and help in making informed decisions.

Refer below example written using Upmetrics’ AI writing assistant :

1. Classic Cotton Collection

Price: $20 per T-shirt

  • Each T-shirt is meticulously crafted from premium, 100% organic cotton, ensuring a luxurious feel against the skin.
  • These shirts boast supreme comfort, exceptional durability, and a versatile style that seamlessly transitions from casual outings to special occasions. 

Specifications

  • Sizes Available: S, M, L, XL
  • Color Options: Various classic colors, including white, black, navy, and gray
  • Special Features: Tagless design for added comfort, reinforced seams for enhanced durability

2. Personalized Graphic Tees

Price: $25 per T-shirt

  • Made from soft cotton blends, these T-shirts are a perfect canvas for self-expression, allowing customers to wear their stories. 
  • Sizes Available: XS, S, M, L, XL
  • Color Options: Diverse color palette for personalized designs
  • Customization Features: Option to choose from curated designs or submit personal design ideas
  • T-shirt printing method: High-quality digital printing for detailed and vibrant graphics

Lastly, detail any additional services like customization options, selling t-shirts online, or print-on-demand services if applicable. You can also offer details about return policies and warranties offered.

6. Outline a Sales and Marketing Plan

In this highly competitive t-shirt marketplace, being noticed is crucial, which is why you need a tangible sales and marketing plan to reach your target market.

Therefore, communicate the objectives of your sales and marketing strategies. It could be maximizing outreach, fostering engagement, and achieving sustained growth for your t-shirt company.

While writing the sales and marketing section, keep in mind to outline the below strategies to attract new customers and retain existing ones:

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Define your Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and these distinctive features place your t-shirts apart from competitors. It will create a powerful brand stand for your t-shirt company.

Pricing Strategy

Research and analyze the pricing strategies of top players in the industry and create a competitive yet profitable pricing strategy. Set value-based average price for a t-shirt. Besides, sell t-shirts by offering discounts.

  • Marketing strategies

Develop a marketing approach that encloses online and offline marketing tactics. Consider using social media channels, influencer alliances, email marketing, brochures, print marketing, and Google Ads campaigns.

marketing strategies for t-shirt business

Sales strategies

Mention sales strategies that diversify t-shirt sales through a multi-channel approach(website, e-commerce platform, retail collaboration). Draw new customers through periodic promotional sales and referral incentives.

Customer retention

Mention how your t-shirt company will retain customers and build loyalty, such as with the help of loyalty programs for repeat purchases, personalized service, or special events

7. Introduce Your Team

A powerful management team is paramount to demonstrate your t-shirt business’s ability to flourish. Spotlight your key managers’ backgrounds, including skills and experiences that ascertain their capability to grow your t-shirt company.

Let’s have a look; an example of mentioning the management team using Upmetrics:

t-shirt-business management team example

Consider incorporating the organizational chart (visually introducing the team structure and hierarchy) and compensation plan(including salaries, incentives, or employee benefits) in this section. 

You can also present an advisory board by adding 2 -3 individuals who act like mentors to your business. They would help answer questions and guide you with strategic direction.

8. Outline Business Operations

Now, let’s emphasize the business operational plan, as detailed information on daily activities is essential for reaching business goals and fulfilling customer commitments.

Start with a quick introduction that outlines the pivotal role of daily operations. Then, give a meticulous summary of the day-to-day activities involved in driving the t-shirt business.

Wondering what to write in your t-shirt business’s operational plan? Well, here is a guideline:

Production process

Explain how these t-shirts are made, whether it is via in-house production or outsourcing to a third-party manufacturer. If you are designing t-shirts on your own, you can follow below 4 ways of printing t-shirts:

  • Screen printing
  • Heat transfer printing
  • Direct-to-garment printing
  • Embroidered printing

Supply chain management

Represent the supply chain procedures, from sourcing raw materials and manufacturing to distribution. Clarify how the supply chain supports product quality and fulfills customer demand.

Highlight the staffing structure and pinpoint their roles & responsibilities for seamless operations. Briefly draft the tasks assigned to each employee and state their contributions to daily functions.

Not only that, prepare a hiring plan if your team is lacking and want to increase the team’s size. You can also employ temporary workers, or even subcontract services for peak periods of activity.

If any third party is involved, you don’t need to hire staff for inventory management. For instance, with print-on-demand service, the printing process, packing operation, and order shipping activity can be carried out by your print-on-demand provider.

Equipment and Technology

Describe the equipment required and the technology used in daily operations. Your t-shirt business involves production facilities, specialized machinery, inventory control systems, or order processing software.

Take reference from the below example written with the help of Upmetrics:

  • Production Facilities: [Your T-Shirt Business Name] takes pride in its purpose-built production facilities, meticulously designed to optimize the T-shirt manufacturing process. Dedicated to cutting, sewing, printing, and printing on demand to ensure an efficient and streamlined workflow.
  • Specialized Machinery: Our arsenal includes state-of-the-art machinery, from advanced cutting machines to high-speed sewing units. Digital printers for intricate designs and precision-driven heat press equipment are the backbone of our graphic application processes.
  • Technology for Design and Customization: Creativity takes center stage with the technology employed for T-shirt design and customization. Graphic design software, digital mockup tools, and innovative virtual try-on features empower customers to unleash their creativity and personalize their T-shirts effortlessly.
  • Order Processing Software: This software is designed to manage customer orders with precision, featuring order tracking, automated invoicing, and integration capabilities to streamline the entire order fulfillment process.

Customer satisfaction

Highlight the steps for ensuring prompt and accurate order fulfillment, from order placement to shipping and delivery. If running an online store and selling t-shirts, specify some customer service protocols to address queries and manage returns or exchanges.

9. Prepare Financial Projections

Generally speaking, you need a well-structured and in-depth financial plan for a successful t-shirt business. This section involves strategic calculations that showcase your expenses and profit margins.

You can include the income statement, cash flow statement, and balance sheet for 3-5 years. You can estimate the break-even point and funding needs from these financial projections.

So, define all the major components explained below:

Income statement

It is most commonly known as a Profit and Loss statement, or P&L, describing the gross profitability of your t-shirt business by subtracting costs of goods sold from revenue.

This part is an overview of the revenues, costs, and expenses accumulated within a designated time frame.

  • Initial investment for equipment
  • Costs of raw materials and supplies
  • The outlay for marketing, bills, rent, subscriptions, taxes, maintenance, personnel
  • Working capital
  • Print-on-demand costs (if applicable)

profit and loss statement for t-shirt business

Cash flow statement

A cash flow statement helps you notice how much money you need to start or grow your business and avoid running out of cash. After launch, maintain this statement even for certain months before earning profits.

But sometimes, you get profits but still encounter financial issues that could lead to bankruptcy. Thus, you will require appropriate cash flow planning to avoid such cases.

Balance sheet

It is a financial aspect to display whether your t-shirt business has what it bears to pay and ultimately yield profit. Use this formula: total assets = total liabilities + total equity.

For instance,

  • Assets would be your printed t-shirt business inventory, equipment, and investment cash.
  • Liabilities would be taxes, subscriptions, eventual debts, and payments to suppliers.

t-shirt business balance sheet example

Break-even analysis

It is a projection of the exact point at which your company will sell enough T-shirts to cover all its expenditures. From this threshold, you can expect to start making purely returns.

All the above financial aspects can help you identify the funding requirements and estimate the funding resources for your t-shirt company, including bank loans, SBA-guaranteed loans, angel investors, and personal savings.

However, figuring out all the financial statements from scratch can be a challenging task. But not to worry; here is an easy way.

Use Upmetrics’ financial forecasting tool to prepare all the financial aspects for initiating your own t-shirt business.

Well, having realistic financial projections at your hand can help you to reveal the financial feasibility and sustainability of your business.

T-Shirt Printing Industry Highlights 2024

Let’s go through some t-shirt printing industry trends and statistics:

  • The sustainable fashion market is expected to grow to $9.81 billion in 2025 and $15.17 billion in 2030 at a CAGR of 9.1%.
  • By 2027, the volume in the t-shirt market is projected to reach 1.0bn pieces units, and there will be a volume growth of 3.1% in 2024.
  • The global custom t-shirt printing market size reached $5.09 billion in 2022 and is estimated to hit around $14.81 billion by 2032. It will grow at a CAGR of 11.27% during the forecast period of 2023-2032.
  • In the US, online t-shirt business revenue share will overtake offline sales and will account for 50.7% of the market revenue in 2024.
  • The volume of children’s t-shirts market sold is predicted to reach 0.5 billion pieces by 2027; an expected volume growth of 3.0% in 2024.
  • As per Statista, the US market is currently experiencing a surge in demand for vintage-inspired graphic t-shirts for women and sustainable and ethically-made t-shirts for men.
  • The digitally printed t-shirts segment is estimated to register the fastest CAGR of 12.0% from 2023 to 2030.

Download a T-shirt business plan template

Are you ready to start writing a t-shirt business plan? And want to get help with your business plan? Well, here you can download our free t-shirt business plan pdf and start writing.

This advanced investor-friendly template has been crafted with t-shirt businesses in mind, whether a physical or online store. With step-by-step instructions and examples, this template helps you draft your t-shirt business plan.

Import data into your editor and start your business plan writing.

The Quickest Way to turn a Business Idea into a Business Plan

Fill-in-the-blanks and automatic financials make it easy.

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Start preparing your business plan with AI

Now, it’s time to craft a blueprint to turn your entrepreneurial vision into reality. Launch your t-shirt business with confidence and precision by leveraging the power of Upmetrics AI assistant .

Whether you are an experienced entrepreneur or a novice to the business world, our innovative tools and tailored business plan templates simplify your planning process and guide you through each crucial step.

Don’t wait; seize the opportunity to bring your unique t-shirt designs to the online marketplaces. Start preparing your printed t-shirt business plan with Upmetrics and set the stages for a successful t-shirt business journey.

Let’s pave the way to the fashion landscape!

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Frequently asked questions, how much does it cost to start a t-shirt business.

A fair estimation for a small-scale t-shirt business can start around $5,000, while larger-scale ventures may demand a more significant investment. It can vary widely depending on equipment costs, inventory, website development for online sales, marketing, and working capital.

Is a t-shirt business profitable?

A t-shirt business is one of the most profitable business ideas and it can be successful with the right business strategy and market positioning. The profitability of the t-shirt business depends on a well-executed business plan, high-quality designs, custom t-shirts, and effective marketing.

Do you need a business plan to sell t-shirts online?

Of course, you need a proper business plan for selling t-shirts online. A well-thought-out business plan helps you define your business goals, target audience, marketing plan, and financial projections.

What is the easiest way to create a t-shirt business plan?

The easiest way to create a tshirt business plan is to use effective business plan templates available online. Platforms like Upmetrics offer user-friendly templates that guide you through the important sections of the business plan and make the process seamless and accessible.

What to consider before starting a t-shirt business?

Consider the following factors before starting a t-shirt business:

  • Niche and USPs
  • Financial projections & funding
  • Target audience
  • Competitor analysis

About the Author

merchandising business plan sample

Vinay Kevadiya

Vinay Kevadiya is the founder and CEO of Upmetrics, the #1 business planning software. His ultimate goal with Upmetrics is to revolutionize how entrepreneurs create, manage, and execute their business plans. He enjoys sharing his insights on business planning and other relevant topics through his articles and blog posts. Read more

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How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

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Every successful business has one thing in common, a good and well-executed business plan. A business plan is more than a document, it is a complete guide that outlines the goals your business wants to achieve, including its financial goals . It helps you analyze results, make strategic decisions, show your business operations and growth.

If you want to start a business or already have one and need to pitch it to investors for funding, writing a good business plan improves your chances of attracting financiers. As a startup, if you want to secure loans from financial institutions, part of the requirements involve submitting your business plan.

Writing a business plan does not have to be a complicated or time-consuming process. In this article, you will learn the step-by-step process for writing a successful business plan.

You will also learn what you need a business plan for, tips and strategies for writing a convincing business plan, business plan examples and templates that will save you tons of time, and the alternatives to the traditional business plan.

Let’s get started.

What Do You Need A Business Plan For?

Businesses create business plans for different purposes such as to secure funds, monitor business growth, measure your marketing strategies, and measure your business success.

1. Secure Funds

One of the primary reasons for writing a business plan is to secure funds, either from financial institutions/agencies or investors.

For you to effectively acquire funds, your business plan must contain the key elements of your business plan . For example, your business plan should include your growth plans, goals you want to achieve, and milestones you have recorded.

A business plan can also attract new business partners that are willing to contribute financially and intellectually. If you are writing a business plan to a bank, your project must show your traction , that is, the proof that you can pay back any loan borrowed.

Also, if you are writing to an investor, your plan must contain evidence that you can effectively utilize the funds you want them to invest in your business. Here, you are using your business plan to persuade a group or an individual that your business is a source of a good investment.

2. Monitor Business Growth

A business plan can help you track cash flows in your business. It steers your business to greater heights. A business plan capable of tracking business growth should contain:

  • The business goals
  • Methods to achieve the goals
  • Time-frame for attaining those goals

A good business plan should guide you through every step in achieving your goals. It can also track the allocation of assets to every aspect of the business. You can tell when you are spending more than you should on a project.

You can compare a business plan to a written GPS. It helps you manage your business and hints at the right time to expand your business.

3. Measure Business Success

A business plan can help you measure your business success rate. Some small-scale businesses are thriving better than more prominent companies because of their track record of success.

Right from the onset of your business operation, set goals and work towards them. Write a plan to guide you through your procedures. Use your plan to measure how much you have achieved and how much is left to attain.

You can also weigh your success by monitoring the position of your brand relative to competitors. On the other hand, a business plan can also show you why you have not achieved a goal. It can tell if you have elapsed the time frame you set to attain a goal.

4. Document Your Marketing Strategies

You can use a business plan to document your marketing plans. Every business should have an effective marketing plan.

Competition mandates every business owner to go the extraordinary mile to remain relevant in the market. Your business plan should contain your marketing strategies that work. You can measure the success rate of your marketing plans.

In your business plan, your marketing strategy must answer the questions:

  • How do you want to reach your target audience?
  • How do you plan to retain your customers?
  • What is/are your pricing plans?
  • What is your budget for marketing?

Business Plan Infographic

How to Write a Business Plan Step-by-Step

1. create your executive summary.

The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans . Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

Executive Summary of the business plan

Generally, there are nine sections in a business plan, the executive summary should condense essential ideas from the other eight sections.

A good executive summary should do the following:

  • A Snapshot of Growth Potential. Briefly inform the reader about your company and why it will be successful)
  • Contain your Mission Statement which explains what the main objective or focus of your business is.
  • Product Description and Differentiation. Brief description of your products or services and why it is different from other solutions in the market.
  • The Team. Basic information about your company’s leadership team and employees
  • Business Concept. A solid description of what your business does.
  • Target Market. The customers you plan to sell to.
  • Marketing Strategy. Your plans on reaching and selling to your customers
  • Current Financial State. Brief information about what revenue your business currently generates.
  • Projected Financial State. Brief information about what you foresee your business revenue to be in the future.

The executive summary is the make-or-break section of your business plan. If your summary cannot in less than two pages cannot clearly describe how your business will solve a particular problem of your target audience and make a profit, your business plan is set on a faulty foundation.

Avoid using the executive summary to hype your business, instead, focus on helping the reader understand the what and how of your plan.

View the executive summary as an opportunity to introduce your vision for your company. You know your executive summary is powerful when it can answer these key questions:

  • Who is your target audience?
  • What sector or industry are you in?
  • What are your products and services?
  • What is the future of your industry?
  • Is your company scaleable?
  • Who are the owners and leaders of your company? What are their backgrounds and experience levels?
  • What is the motivation for starting your company?
  • What are the next steps?

Writing the executive summary last although it is the most important section of your business plan is an excellent idea. The reason why is because it is a high-level overview of your business plan. It is the section that determines whether potential investors and lenders will read further or not.

The executive summary can be a stand-alone document that covers everything in your business plan. It is not uncommon for investors to request only the executive summary when evaluating your business. If the information in the executive summary impresses them, they will ask for the complete business plan.

If you are writing your business plan for your planning purposes, you do not need to write the executive summary.

2. Add Your Company Overview

The company overview or description is the next section in your business plan after the executive summary. It describes what your business does.

Adding your company overview can be tricky especially when your business is still in the planning stages. Existing businesses can easily summarize their current operations but may encounter difficulties trying to explain what they plan to become.

Your company overview should contain the following:

  • What products and services you will provide
  • Geographical markets and locations your company have a presence
  • What you need to run your business
  • Who your target audience or customers are
  • Who will service your customers
  • Your company’s purpose, mission, and vision
  • Information about your company’s founders
  • Who the founders are
  • Notable achievements of your company so far

When creating a company overview, you have to focus on three basics: identifying your industry, identifying your customer, and explaining the problem you solve.

If you are stuck when creating your company overview, try to answer some of these questions that pertain to you.

  • Who are you targeting? (The answer is not everyone)
  • What pain point does your product or service solve for your customers that they will be willing to spend money on resolving?
  • How does your product or service overcome that pain point?
  • Where is the location of your business?
  • What products, equipment, and services do you need to run your business?
  • How is your company’s product or service different from your competition in the eyes of your customers?
  • How many employees do you need and what skills do you require them to have?

After answering some or all of these questions, you will get more than enough information you need to write your company overview or description section. When writing this section, describe what your company does for your customers.

It describes what your business does

The company description or overview section contains three elements: mission statement, history, and objectives.

  • Mission Statement

The mission statement refers to the reason why your business or company is existing. It goes beyond what you do or sell, it is about the ‘why’. A good mission statement should be emotional and inspirational.

Your mission statement should follow the KISS rule (Keep It Simple, Stupid). For example, Shopify’s mission statement is “Make commerce better for everyone.”

When describing your company’s history, make it simple and avoid the temptation of tying it to a defensive narrative. Write it in the manner you would a profile. Your company’s history should include the following information:

  • Founding Date
  • Major Milestones
  • Location(s)
  • Flagship Products or Services
  • Number of Employees
  • Executive Leadership Roles

When you fill in this information, you use it to write one or two paragraphs about your company’s history.

Business Objectives

Your business objective must be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and time-bound.) Failure to clearly identify your business objectives does not inspire confidence and makes it hard for your team members to work towards a common purpose.

3. Perform Market and Competitive Analyses to Proof a Big Enough Business Opportunity

The third step in writing a business plan is the market and competitive analysis section. Every business, no matter the size, needs to perform comprehensive market and competitive analyses before it enters into a market.

Performing market and competitive analyses are critical for the success of your business. It helps you avoid entering the right market with the wrong product, or vice versa. Anyone reading your business plans, especially financiers and financial institutions will want to see proof that there is a big enough business opportunity you are targeting.

This section is where you describe the market and industry you want to operate in and show the big opportunities in the market that your business can leverage to make a profit. If you noticed any unique trends when doing your research, show them in this section.

Market analysis alone is not enough, you have to add competitive analysis to strengthen this section. There are already businesses in the industry or market, how do you plan to take a share of the market from them?

You have to clearly illustrate the competitive landscape in your business plan. Are there areas your competitors are doing well? Are there areas where they are not doing so well? Show it.

Make it clear in this section why you are moving into the industry and what weaknesses are present there that you plan to explain. How are your competitors going to react to your market entry? How do you plan to get customers? Do you plan on taking your competitors' competitors, tap into other sources for customers, or both?

Illustrate the competitive landscape as well. What are your competitors doing well and not so well?

Answering these questions and thoughts will aid your market and competitive analysis of the opportunities in your space. Depending on how sophisticated your industry is, or the expectations of your financiers, you may need to carry out a more comprehensive market and competitive analysis to prove that big business opportunity.

Instead of looking at the market and competitive analyses as one entity, separating them will make the research even more comprehensive.

Market Analysis

Market analysis, boarding speaking, refers to research a business carried out on its industry, market, and competitors. It helps businesses gain a good understanding of their target market and the outlook of their industry. Before starting a company, it is vital to carry out market research to find out if the market is viable.

Market Analysis for Online Business

The market analysis section is a key part of the business plan. It is the section where you identify who your best clients or customers are. You cannot omit this section, without it your business plan is incomplete.

A good market analysis will tell your readers how you fit into the existing market and what makes you stand out. This section requires in-depth research, it will probably be the most time-consuming part of the business plan to write.

  • Market Research

To create a compelling market analysis that will win over investors and financial institutions, you have to carry out thorough market research . Your market research should be targeted at your primary target market for your products or services. Here is what you want to find out about your target market.

  • Your target market’s needs or pain points
  • The existing solutions for their pain points
  • Geographic Location
  • Demographics

The purpose of carrying out a marketing analysis is to get all the information you need to show that you have a solid and thorough understanding of your target audience.

Only after you have fully understood the people you plan to sell your products or services to, can you evaluate correctly if your target market will be interested in your products or services.

You can easily convince interested parties to invest in your business if you can show them you thoroughly understand the market and show them that there is a market for your products or services.

How to Quantify Your Target Market

One of the goals of your marketing research is to understand who your ideal customers are and their purchasing power. To quantify your target market, you have to determine the following:

  • Your Potential Customers: They are the people you plan to target. For example, if you sell accounting software for small businesses , then anyone who runs an enterprise or large business is unlikely to be your customers. Also, individuals who do not have a business will most likely not be interested in your product.
  • Total Households: If you are selling household products such as heating and air conditioning systems, determining the number of total households is more important than finding out the total population in the area you want to sell to. The logic is simple, people buy the product but it is the household that uses it.
  • Median Income: You need to know the median income of your target market. If you target a market that cannot afford to buy your products and services, your business will not last long.
  • Income by Demographics: If your potential customers belong to a certain age group or gender, determining income levels by demographics is necessary. For example, if you sell men's clothes, your target audience is men.

What Does a Good Market Analysis Entail?

Your business does not exist on its own, it can only flourish within an industry and alongside competitors. Market analysis takes into consideration your industry, target market, and competitors. Understanding these three entities will drastically improve your company’s chances of success.

Market Analysis Steps

You can view your market analysis as an examination of the market you want to break into and an education on the emerging trends and themes in that market. Good market analyses include the following:

  • Industry Description. You find out about the history of your industry, the current and future market size, and who the largest players/companies are in your industry.
  • Overview of Target Market. You research your target market and its characteristics. Who are you targeting? Note, it cannot be everyone, it has to be a specific group. You also have to find out all information possible about your customers that can help you understand how and why they make buying decisions.
  • Size of Target Market: You need to know the size of your target market, how frequently they buy, and the expected quantity they buy so you do not risk overproducing and having lots of bad inventory. Researching the size of your target market will help you determine if it is big enough for sustained business or not.
  • Growth Potential: Before picking a target market, you want to be sure there are lots of potential for future growth. You want to avoid going for an industry that is declining slowly or rapidly with almost zero growth potential.
  • Market Share Potential: Does your business stand a good chance of taking a good share of the market?
  • Market Pricing and Promotional Strategies: Your market analysis should give you an idea of the price point you can expect to charge for your products and services. Researching your target market will also give you ideas of pricing strategies you can implement to break into the market or to enjoy maximum profits.
  • Potential Barriers to Entry: One of the biggest benefits of conducting market analysis is that it shows you every potential barrier to entry your business will likely encounter. It is a good idea to discuss potential barriers to entry such as changing technology. It informs readers of your business plan that you understand the market.
  • Research on Competitors: You need to know the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors and how you can exploit them for the benefit of your business. Find patterns and trends among your competitors that make them successful, discover what works and what doesn’t, and see what you can do better.

The market analysis section is not just for talking about your target market, industry, and competitors. You also have to explain how your company can fill the hole you have identified in the market.

Here are some questions you can answer that can help you position your product or service in a positive light to your readers.

  • Is your product or service of superior quality?
  • What additional features do you offer that your competitors do not offer?
  • Are you targeting a ‘new’ market?

Basically, your market analysis should include an analysis of what already exists in the market and an explanation of how your company fits into the market.

Competitive Analysis

In the competitive analysis section, y ou have to understand who your direct and indirect competitions are, and how successful they are in the marketplace. It is the section where you assess the strengths and weaknesses of your competitors, the advantage(s) they possess in the market and show the unique features or qualities that make you different from your competitors.

Four Steps to Create a Competitive Marketing Analysis

Many businesses do market analysis and competitive analysis together. However, to fully understand what the competitive analysis entails, it is essential to separate it from the market analysis.

Competitive analysis for your business can also include analysis on how to overcome barriers to entry in your target market.

The primary goal of conducting a competitive analysis is to distinguish your business from your competitors. A strong competitive analysis is essential if you want to convince potential funding sources to invest in your business. You have to show potential investors and lenders that your business has what it takes to compete in the marketplace successfully.

Competitive analysis will s how you what the strengths of your competition are and what they are doing to maintain that advantage.

When doing your competitive research, you first have to identify your competitor and then get all the information you can about them. The idea of spending time to identify your competitor and learn everything about them may seem daunting but it is well worth it.

Find answers to the following questions after you have identified who your competitors are.

  • What are your successful competitors doing?
  • Why is what they are doing working?
  • Can your business do it better?
  • What are the weaknesses of your successful competitors?
  • What are they not doing well?
  • Can your business turn its weaknesses into strengths?
  • How good is your competitors’ customer service?
  • Where do your competitors invest in advertising?
  • What sales and pricing strategies are they using?
  • What marketing strategies are they using?
  • What kind of press coverage do they get?
  • What are their customers saying about your competitors (both the positive and negative)?

If your competitors have a website, it is a good idea to visit their websites for more competitors’ research. Check their “About Us” page for more information.

How to Perform Competitive Analysis

If you are presenting your business plan to investors, you need to clearly distinguish yourself from your competitors. Investors can easily tell when you have not properly researched your competitors.

Take time to think about what unique qualities or features set you apart from your competitors. If you do not have any direct competition offering your product to the market, it does not mean you leave out the competitor analysis section blank. Instead research on other companies that are providing a similar product, or whose product is solving the problem your product solves.

The next step is to create a table listing the top competitors you want to include in your business plan. Ensure you list your business as the last and on the right. What you just created is known as the competitor analysis table.

Direct vs Indirect Competition

You cannot know if your product or service will be a fit for your target market if you have not understood your business and the competitive landscape.

There is no market you want to target where you will not encounter competition, even if your product is innovative. Including competitive analysis in your business plan is essential.

If you are entering an established market, you need to explain how you plan to differentiate your products from the available options in the market. Also, include a list of few companies that you view as your direct competitors The competition you face in an established market is your direct competition.

In situations where you are entering a market with no direct competition, it does not mean there is no competition there. Consider your indirect competition that offers substitutes for the products or services you offer.

For example, if you sell an innovative SaaS product, let us say a project management software , a company offering time management software is your indirect competition.

There is an easy way to find out who your indirect competitors are in the absence of no direct competitors. You simply have to research how your potential customers are solving the problems that your product or service seeks to solve. That is your direct competition.

Factors that Differentiate Your Business from the Competition

There are three main factors that any business can use to differentiate itself from its competition. They are cost leadership, product differentiation, and market segmentation.

1. Cost Leadership

A strategy you can impose to maximize your profits and gain an edge over your competitors. It involves offering lower prices than what the majority of your competitors are offering.

A common practice among businesses looking to enter into a market where there are dominant players is to use free trials or pricing to attract as many customers as possible to their offer.

2. Product Differentiation

Your product or service should have a unique selling proposition (USP) that your competitors do not have or do not stress in their marketing.

Part of the marketing strategy should involve making your products unique and different from your competitors. It does not have to be different from your competitors, it can be the addition to a feature or benefit that your competitors do not currently have.

3. Market Segmentation

As a new business seeking to break into an industry, you will gain more success from focusing on a specific niche or target market, and not the whole industry.

If your competitors are focused on a general need or target market, you can differentiate yourself from them by having a small and hyper-targeted audience. For example, if your competitors are selling men’s clothes in their online stores , you can sell hoodies for men.

4. Define Your Business and Management Structure

The next step in your business plan is your business and management structure. It is the section where you describe the legal structure of your business and the team running it.

Your business is only as good as the management team that runs it, while the management team can only strive when there is a proper business and management structure in place.

If your company is a sole proprietor or a limited liability company (LLC), a general or limited partnership, or a C or an S corporation, state it clearly in this section.

Use an organizational chart to show the management structure in your business. Clearly show who is in charge of what area in your company. It is where you show how each key manager or team leader’s unique experience can contribute immensely to the success of your company. You can also opt to add the resumes and CVs of the key players in your company.

The business and management structure section should show who the owner is, and other owners of the businesses (if the business has other owners). For businesses or companies with multiple owners, include the percent ownership of the various owners and clearly show the extent of each others’ involvement in the company.

Investors want to know who is behind the company and the team running it to determine if it has the right management to achieve its set goals.

Management Team

The management team section is where you show that you have the right team in place to successfully execute the business operations and ideas. Take time to create the management structure for your business. Think about all the important roles and responsibilities that you need managers for to grow your business.

Include brief bios of each key team member and ensure you highlight only the relevant information that is needed. If your team members have background industry experience or have held top positions for other companies and achieved success while filling that role, highlight it in this section.

Create Management Team For Business Plan

A common mistake that many startups make is assigning C-level titles such as (CMO and CEO) to everyone on their team. It is unrealistic for a small business to have those titles. While it may look good on paper for the ego of your team members, it can prevent investors from investing in your business.

Instead of building an unrealistic management structure that does not fit your business reality, it is best to allow business titles to grow as the business grows. Starting everyone at the top leaves no room for future change or growth, which is bad for productivity.

Your management team does not have to be complete before you start writing your business plan. You can have a complete business plan even when there are managerial positions that are empty and need filling.

If you have management gaps in your team, simply show the gaps and indicate you are searching for the right candidates for the role(s). Investors do not expect you to have a full management team when you are just starting your business.

Key Questions to Answer When Structuring Your Management Team

  • Who are the key leaders?
  • What experiences, skills, and educational backgrounds do you expect your key leaders to have?
  • Do your key leaders have industry experience?
  • What positions will they fill and what duties will they perform in those positions?
  • What level of authority do the key leaders have and what are their responsibilities?
  • What is the salary for the various management positions that will attract the ideal candidates?

Additional Tips for Writing the Management Structure Section

1. Avoid Adding ‘Ghost’ Names to Your Management Team

There is always that temptation to include a ‘ghost’ name to your management team to attract and influence investors to invest in your business. Although the presence of these celebrity management team members may attract the attention of investors, it can cause your business to lose any credibility if you get found out.

Seasoned investors will investigate further the members of your management team before committing fully to your business If they find out that the celebrity name used does not play any actual role in your business, they will not invest and may write you off as dishonest.

2. Focus on Credentials But Pay Extra Attention to the Roles

Investors want to know the experience that your key team members have to determine if they can successfully reach the company’s growth and financial goals.

While it is an excellent boost for your key management team to have the right credentials, you also want to pay extra attention to the roles they will play in your company.

Organizational Chart

Organizational chart Infographic

Adding an organizational chart in this section of your business plan is not necessary, you can do it in your business plan’s appendix.

If you are exploring funding options, it is not uncommon to get asked for your organizational chart. The function of an organizational chart goes beyond raising money, you can also use it as a useful planning tool for your business.

An organizational chart can help you identify how best to structure your management team for maximum productivity and point you towards key roles you need to fill in the future.

You can use the organizational chart to show your company’s internal management structure such as the roles and responsibilities of your management team, and relationships that exist between them.

5. Describe Your Product and Service Offering

In your business plan, you have to describe what you sell or the service you plan to offer. It is the next step after defining your business and management structure. The products and services section is where you sell the benefits of your business.

Here you have to explain how your product or service will benefit your customers and describe your product lifecycle. It is also the section where you write down your plans for intellectual property like patent filings and copyrighting.

The research and development that you are undertaking for your product or service need to be explained in detail in this section. However, do not get too technical, sell the general idea and its benefits.

If you have any diagrams or intricate designs of your product or service, do not include them in the products and services section. Instead, leave them for the addendum page. Also, if you are leaving out diagrams or designs for the addendum, ensure you add this phrase “For more detail, visit the addendum Page #.”

Your product and service section in your business plan should include the following:

  • A detailed explanation that clearly shows how your product or service works.
  • The pricing model for your product or service.
  • Your business’ sales and distribution strategy.
  • The ideal customers that want your product or service.
  • The benefits of your products and services.
  • Reason(s) why your product or service is a better alternative to what your competitors are currently offering in the market.
  • Plans for filling the orders you receive
  • If you have current or pending patents, copyrights, and trademarks for your product or service, you can also discuss them in this section.

What to Focus On When Describing the Benefits, Lifecycle, and Production Process of Your Products or Services

In the products and services section, you have to distill the benefits, lifecycle, and production process of your products and services.

When describing the benefits of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Unique features
  • Translating the unique features into benefits
  • The emotional, psychological, and practical payoffs to attract customers
  • Intellectual property rights or any patents

When describing the product life cycle of your products or services, here are some key factors to focus on.

  • Upsells, cross-sells, and down-sells
  • Time between purchases
  • Plans for research and development.

When describing the production process for your products or services, you need to think about the following:

  • The creation of new or existing products and services.
  • The sources for the raw materials or components you need for production.
  • Assembling the products
  • Maintaining quality control
  • Supply-chain logistics (receiving the raw materials and delivering the finished products)
  • The day-to-day management of the production processes, bookkeeping, and inventory.

Tips for Writing the Products or Services Section of Your Business Plan

1. Avoid Technical Descriptions and Industry Buzzwords

The products and services section of your business plan should clearly describe the products and services that your company provides. However, it is not a section to include technical jargons that anyone outside your industry will not understand.

A good practice is to remove highly detailed or technical descriptions in favor of simple terms. Industry buzzwords are not necessary, if there are simpler terms you can use, then use them. If you plan to use your business plan to source funds, making the product or service section so technical will do you no favors.

2. Describe How Your Products or Services Differ from Your Competitors

When potential investors look at your business plan, they want to know how the products and services you are offering differ from that of your competition. Differentiating your products or services from your competition in a way that makes your solution more attractive is critical.

If you are going the innovative path and there is no market currently for your product or service, you need to describe in this section why the market needs your product or service.

For example, overnight delivery was a niche business that only a few companies were participating in. Federal Express (FedEx) had to show in its business plan that there was a large opportunity for that service and they justified why the market needed that service.

3. Long or Short Products or Services Section

Should your products or services section be short? Does the long products or services section attract more investors?

There are no straightforward answers to these questions. Whether your products or services section should be long or relatively short depends on the nature of your business.

If your business is product-focused, then automatically you need to use more space to describe the details of your products. However, if the product your business sells is a commodity item that relies on competitive pricing or other pricing strategies, you do not have to use up so much space to provide significant details about the product.

Likewise, if you are selling a commodity that is available in numerous outlets, then you do not have to spend time on writing a long products or services section.

The key to the success of your business is most likely the effectiveness of your marketing strategies compared to your competitors. Use more space to address that section.

If you are creating a new product or service that the market does not know about, your products or services section can be lengthy. The reason why is because you need to explain everything about the product or service such as the nature of the product, its use case, and values.

A short products or services section for an innovative product or service will not give the readers enough information to properly evaluate your business.

4. Describe Your Relationships with Vendors or Suppliers

Your business will rely on vendors or suppliers to supply raw materials or the components needed to make your products. In your products and services section, describe your relationships with your vendors and suppliers fully.

Avoid the mistake of relying on only one supplier or vendor. If that supplier or vendor fails to supply or goes out of business, you can easily face supply problems and struggle to meet your demands. Plan to set up multiple vendor or supplier relationships for better business stability.

5. Your Primary Goal Is to Convince Your Readers

The primary goal of your business plan is to convince your readers that your business is viable and to create a guide for your business to follow. It applies to the products and services section.

When drafting this section, think like the reader. See your reader as someone who has no idea about your products and services. You are using the products and services section to provide the needed information to help your reader understand your products and services. As a result, you have to be clear and to the point.

While you want to educate your readers about your products or services, you also do not want to bore them with lots of technical details. Show your products and services and not your fancy choice of words.

Your products and services section should provide the answer to the “what” question for your business. You and your management team may run the business, but it is your products and services that are the lifeblood of the business.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing your Products and Services Section

Answering these questions can help you write your products and services section quickly and in a way that will appeal to your readers.

  • Are your products existing on the market or are they still in the development stage?
  • What is your timeline for adding new products and services to the market?
  • What are the positives that make your products and services different from your competitors?
  • Do your products and services have any competitive advantage that your competitors’ products and services do not currently have?
  • Do your products or services have any competitive disadvantages that you need to overcome to compete with your competitors? If your answer is yes, state how you plan to overcome them,
  • How much does it cost to produce your products or services? How much do you plan to sell it for?
  • What is the price for your products and services compared to your competitors? Is pricing an issue?
  • What are your operating costs and will it be low enough for you to compete with your competitors and still take home a reasonable profit margin?
  • What is your plan for acquiring your products? Are you involved in the production of your products or services?
  • Are you the manufacturer and produce all the components you need to create your products? Do you assemble your products by using components supplied by other manufacturers? Do you purchase your products directly from suppliers or wholesalers?
  • Do you have a steady supply of products that you need to start your business? (If your business is yet to kick-off)
  • How do you plan to distribute your products or services to the market?

You can also hint at the marketing or promotion plans you have for your products or services such as how you plan to build awareness or retain customers. The next section is where you can go fully into details about your business’s marketing and sales plan.

6. Show and Explain Your Marketing and Sales Plan

Providing great products and services is wonderful, but it means nothing if you do not have a marketing and sales plan to inform your customers about them. Your marketing and sales plan is critical to the success of your business.

The sales and marketing section is where you show and offer a detailed explanation of your marketing and sales plan and how you plan to execute it. It covers your pricing plan, proposed advertising and promotion activities, activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success, and the benefits of your products and services.

There are several ways you can approach your marketing and sales strategy. Ideally, your marketing and sales strategy has to fit the unique needs of your business.

In this section, you describe how the plans your business has for attracting and retaining customers, and the exact process for making a sale happen. It is essential to thoroughly describe your complete marketing and sales plans because you are still going to reference this section when you are making financial projections for your business.

Outline Your Business’ Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

Unique Selling Proposition (USP)

The sales and marketing section is where you outline your business’s unique selling proposition (USP). When you are developing your unique selling proposition, think about the strongest reasons why people should buy from you over your competition. That reason(s) is most likely a good fit to serve as your unique selling proposition (USP).

Target Market and Target Audience

Plans on how to get your products or services to your target market and how to get your target audience to buy them go into this section. You also highlight the strengths of your business here, particularly what sets them apart from your competition.

Target Market Vs Target Audience

Before you start writing your marketing and sales plan, you need to have properly defined your target audience and fleshed out your buyer persona. If you do not first understand the individual you are marketing to, your marketing and sales plan will lack any substance and easily fall.

Creating a Smart Marketing and Sales Plan

Marketing your products and services is an investment that requires you to spend money. Like any other investment, you have to generate a good return on investment (ROI) to justify using that marketing and sales plan. Good marketing and sales plans bring in high sales and profits to your company.

Avoid spending money on unproductive marketing channels. Do your research and find out the best marketing and sales plan that works best for your company.

Your marketing and sales plan can be broken into different parts: your positioning statement, pricing, promotion, packaging, advertising, public relations, content marketing, social media, and strategic alliances.

Your Positioning Statement

Your positioning statement is the first part of your marketing and sales plan. It refers to the way you present your company to your customers.

Are you the premium solution, the low-price solution, or are you the intermediary between the two extremes in the market? What do you offer that your competitors do not that can give you leverage in the market?

Before you start writing your positioning statement, you need to spend some time evaluating the current market conditions. Here are some questions that can help you to evaluate the market

  • What are the unique features or benefits that you offer that your competitors lack?
  • What are your customers’ primary needs and wants?
  • Why should a customer choose you over your competition? How do you plan to differentiate yourself from the competition?
  • How does your company’s solution compare with other solutions in the market?

After answering these questions, then you can start writing your positioning statement. Your positioning statement does not have to be in-depth or too long.

All you need to explain with your positioning statement are two focus areas. The first is the position of your company within the competitive landscape. The other focus area is the core value proposition that sets your company apart from other alternatives that your ideal customer might consider.

Here is a simple template you can use to develop a positioning statement.

For [description of target market] who [need of target market], [product or service] [how it meets the need]. Unlike [top competition], it [most essential distinguishing feature].

For example, let’s create the positioning statement for fictional accounting software and QuickBooks alternative , TBooks.

“For small business owners who need accounting services, TBooks is an accounting software that helps small businesses handle their small business bookkeeping basics quickly and easily. Unlike Wave, TBooks gives small businesses access to live sessions with top accountants.”

You can edit this positioning statement sample and fill it with your business details.

After writing your positioning statement, the next step is the pricing of your offerings. The overall positioning strategy you set in your positioning statement will often determine how you price your products or services.

Pricing is a powerful tool that sends a strong message to your customers. Failure to get your pricing strategy right can make or mar your business. If you are targeting a low-income audience, setting a premium price can result in low sales.

You can use pricing to communicate your positioning to your customers. For example, if you are offering a product at a premium price, you are sending a message to your customers that the product belongs to the premium category.

Basic Rules to Follow When Pricing Your Offering

Setting a price for your offering involves more than just putting a price tag on it. Deciding on the right pricing for your offering requires following some basic rules. They include covering your costs, primary and secondary profit center pricing, and matching the market rate.

  • Covering Your Costs: The price you set for your products or service should be more than it costs you to produce and deliver them. Every business has the same goal, to make a profit. Depending on the strategy you want to use, there are exceptions to this rule. However, the vast majority of businesses follow this rule.
  • Primary and Secondary Profit Center Pricing: When a company sets its price above the cost of production, it is making that product its primary profit center. A company can also decide not to make its initial price its primary profit center by selling below or at even with its production cost. It rather depends on the support product or even maintenance that is associated with the initial purchase to make its profit. The initial price thus became its secondary profit center.
  • Matching the Market Rate: A good rule to follow when pricing your products or services is to match your pricing with consumer demand and expectations. If you price your products or services beyond the price your customer perceives as the ideal price range, you may end up with no customers. Pricing your products too low below what your customer perceives as the ideal price range may lead to them undervaluing your offering.

Pricing Strategy

Your pricing strategy influences the price of your offering. There are several pricing strategies available for you to choose from when examining the right pricing strategy for your business. They include cost-plus pricing, market-based pricing, value pricing, and more.

Pricing strategy influences the price of offering

  • Cost-plus Pricing: This strategy is one of the simplest and oldest pricing strategies. Here you consider the cost of producing a unit of your product and then add a profit to it to arrive at your market price. It is an effective pricing strategy for manufacturers because it helps them cover their initial costs. Another name for the cost-plus pricing strategy is the markup pricing strategy.
  • Market-based Pricing: This pricing strategy analyses the market including competitors’ pricing and then sets a price based on what the market is expecting. With this pricing strategy, you can either set your price at the low-end or high-end of the market.
  • Value Pricing: This pricing strategy involves setting a price based on the value you are providing to your customer. When adopting a value-based pricing strategy, you have to set a price that your customers are willing to pay. Service-based businesses such as small business insurance providers , luxury goods sellers, and the fashion industry use this pricing strategy.

After carefully sorting out your positioning statement and pricing, the next item to look at is your promotional strategy. Your promotional strategy explains how you plan on communicating with your customers and prospects.

As a business, you must measure all your costs, including the cost of your promotions. You also want to measure how much sales your promotions bring for your business to determine its usefulness. Promotional strategies or programs that do not lead to profit need to be removed.

There are different types of promotional strategies you can adopt for your business, they include advertising, public relations, and content marketing.

Advertising

Your business plan should include your advertising plan which can be found in the marketing and sales plan section. You need to include an overview of your advertising plans such as the areas you plan to spend money on to advertise your business and offers.

Ensure that you make it clear in this section if your business will be advertising online or using the more traditional offline media, or the combination of both online and offline media. You can also include the advertising medium you want to use to raise awareness about your business and offers.

Some common online advertising mediums you can use include social media ads, landing pages, sales pages, SEO, Pay-Per-Click, emails, Google Ads, and others. Some common traditional and offline advertising mediums include word of mouth, radios, direct mail, televisions, flyers, billboards, posters, and others.

A key component of your advertising strategy is how you plan to measure the effectiveness and success of your advertising campaign. There is no point in sticking with an advertising plan or medium that does not produce results for your business in the long run.

Public Relations

A great way to reach your customers is to get the media to cover your business or product. Publicity, especially good ones, should be a part of your marketing and sales plan. In this section, show your plans for getting prominent reviews of your product from reputable publications and sources.

Your business needs that exposure to grow. If public relations is a crucial part of your promotional strategy, provide details about your public relations plan here.

Content Marketing

Content marketing is a popular promotional strategy used by businesses to inform and attract their customers. It is about teaching and educating your prospects on various topics of interest in your niche, it does not just involve informing them about the benefits and features of the products and services you have,

The Benefits of Content Marketing

Businesses publish content usually for free where they provide useful information, tips, and advice so that their target market can be made aware of the importance of their products and services. Content marketing strategies seek to nurture prospects into buyers over time by simply providing value.

Your company can create a blog where it will be publishing content for its target market. You will need to use the best website builder such as Wix and Squarespace and the best web hosting services such as Bluehost, Hostinger, and other Bluehost alternatives to create a functional blog or website.

If content marketing is a crucial part of your promotional strategy (as it should be), detail your plans under promotions.

Including high-quality images of the packaging of your product in your business plan is a lovely idea. You can add the images of the packaging of that product in the marketing and sales plan section. If you are not selling a product, then you do not need to include any worry about the physical packaging of your product.

When organizing the packaging section of your business plan, you can answer the following questions to make maximum use of this section.

  • Is your choice of packaging consistent with your positioning strategy?
  • What key value proposition does your packaging communicate? (It should reflect the key value proposition of your business)
  • How does your packaging compare to that of your competitors?

Social Media

Your 21st-century business needs to have a good social media presence. Not having one is leaving out opportunities for growth and reaching out to your prospect.

You do not have to join the thousands of social media platforms out there. What you need to do is join the ones that your customers are active on and be active there.

Most popular social media platforms

Businesses use social media to provide information about their products such as promotions, discounts, the benefits of their products, and content on their blogs.

Social media is also a platform for engaging with your customers and getting feedback about your products or services. Make no mistake, more and more of your prospects are using social media channels to find more information about companies.

You need to consider the social media channels you want to prioritize your business (prioritize the ones your customers are active in) and your branding plans in this section.

Choosing the right social media platform

Strategic Alliances

If your company plans to work closely with other companies as part of your sales and marketing plan, include it in this section. Prove details about those partnerships in your business plan if you have already established them.

Strategic alliances can be beneficial for all parties involved including your company. Working closely with another company in the form of a partnership can provide access to a different target market segment for your company.

The company you are partnering with may also gain access to your target market or simply offer a new product or service (that of your company) to its customers.

Mutually beneficial partnerships can cover the weaknesses of one company with the strength of another. You should consider strategic alliances with companies that sell complimentary products to yours. For example, if you provide printers, you can partner with a company that produces ink since the customers that buy printers from you will also need inks for printing.

Steps Involved in Creating a Marketing and Sales Plan

1. Focus on Your Target Market

Identify who your customers are, the market you want to target. Then determine the best ways to get your products or services to your potential customers.

2. Evaluate Your Competition

One of the goals of having a marketing plan is to distinguish yourself from your competition. You cannot stand out from them without first knowing them in and out.

You can know your competitors by gathering information about their products, pricing, service, and advertising campaigns.

These questions can help you know your competition.

  • What makes your competition successful?
  • What are their weaknesses?
  • What are customers saying about your competition?

3. Consider Your Brand

Customers' perception of your brand has a strong impact on your sales. Your marketing and sales plan should seek to bolster the image of your brand. Before you start marketing your business, think about the message you want to pass across about your business and your products and services.

4. Focus on Benefits

The majority of your customers do not view your product in terms of features, what they want to know is the benefits and solutions your product offers. Think about the problems your product solves and the benefits it delivers, and use it to create the right sales and marketing message.

Your marketing plan should focus on what you want your customer to get instead of what you provide. Identify those benefits in your marketing and sales plan.

5. Focus on Differentiation

Your marketing and sales plan should look for a unique angle they can take that differentiates your business from the competition, even if the products offered are similar. Some good areas of differentiation you can use are your benefits, pricing, and features.

Key Questions to Answer When Writing Your Marketing and Sales Plan

  • What is your company’s budget for sales and marketing campaigns?
  • What key metrics will you use to determine if your marketing plans are successful?
  • What are your alternatives if your initial marketing efforts do not succeed?
  • Who are the sales representatives you need to promote your products or services?
  • What are the marketing and sales channels you plan to use? How do you plan to get your products in front of your ideal customers?
  • Where will you sell your products?

You may want to include samples of marketing materials you plan to use such as print ads, website descriptions, and social media ads. While it is not compulsory to include these samples, it can help you better communicate your marketing and sales plan and objectives.

The purpose of the marketing and sales section is to answer this question “How will you reach your customers?” If you cannot convincingly provide an answer to this question, you need to rework your marketing and sales section.

7. Clearly Show Your Funding Request

If you are writing your business plan to ask for funding from investors or financial institutions, the funding request section is where you will outline your funding requirements. The funding request section should answer the question ‘How much money will your business need in the near future (3 to 5 years)?’

A good funding request section will clearly outline and explain the amount of funding your business needs over the next five years. You need to know the amount of money your business needs to make an accurate funding request.

Also, when writing your funding request, provide details of how the funds will be used over the period. Specify if you want to use the funds to buy raw materials or machinery, pay salaries, pay for advertisements, and cover specific bills such as rent and electricity.

In addition to explaining what you want to use the funds requested for, you need to clearly state the projected return on investment (ROI) . Investors and creditors want to know if your business can generate profit for them if they put funds into it.

Ensure you do not inflate the figures and stay as realistic as possible. Investors and financial institutions you are seeking funds from will do their research before investing money in your business.

If you are not sure of an exact number to request from, you can use some range of numbers as rough estimates. Add a best-case scenario and a work-case scenario to your funding request. Also, include a description of your strategic future financial plans such as selling your business or paying off debts.

Funding Request: Debt or Equity?

When making your funding request, specify the type of funding you want. Do you want debt or equity? Draw out the terms that will be applicable for the funding, and the length of time the funding request will cover.

Case for Equity

If your new business has not yet started generating profits, you are most likely preparing to sell equity in your business to raise capital at the early stage. Equity here refers to ownership. In this case, you are selling a portion of your company to raise capital.

Although this method of raising capital for your business does not put your business in debt, keep in mind that an equity owner may expect to play a key role in company decisions even if he does not hold a major stake in the company.

Most equity sales for startups are usually private transactions . If you are making a funding request by offering equity in exchange for funding, let the investor know that they will be paid a dividend (a share of the company’s profit). Also, let the investor know the process for selling their equity in your business.

Case for Debt

You may decide not to offer equity in exchange for funds, instead, you make a funding request with the promise to pay back the money borrowed at the agreed time frame.

When making a funding request with an agreement to pay back, note that you will have to repay your creditors both the principal amount borrowed and the interest on it. Financial institutions offer this type of funding for businesses.

Large companies combine both equity and debt in their capital structure. When drafting your business plan, decide if you want to offer both or one over the other.

Before you sell equity in exchange for funding in your business, consider if you are willing to accept not being in total control of your business. Also, before you seek loans in your funding request section, ensure that the terms of repayment are favorable.

You should set a clear timeline in your funding request so that potential investors and creditors can know what you are expecting. Some investors and creditors may agree to your funding request and then delay payment for longer than 30 days, meanwhile, your business needs an immediate cash injection to operate efficiently.

Additional Tips for Writing the Funding Request Section of your Business Plan

The funding request section is not necessary for every business, it is only needed by businesses who plan to use their business plan to secure funding.

If you are adding the funding request section to your business plan, provide an itemized summary of how you plan to use the funds requested. Hiring a lawyer, accountant, or other professionals may be necessary for the proper development of this section.

You should also gather and use financial statements that add credibility and support to your funding requests. Ensure that the financial statements you use should include your projected financial data such as projected cash flows, forecast statements, and expenditure budgets.

If you are an existing business, include all historical financial statements such as cash flow statements, balance sheets and income statements .

Provide monthly and quarterly financial statements for a year. If your business has records that date back beyond the one-year mark, add the yearly statements of those years. These documents are for the appendix section of your business plan.

8. Detail Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projections

If you used the funding request section in your business plan, supplement it with a financial plan, metrics, and projections. This section paints a picture of the past performance of your business and then goes ahead to make an informed projection about its future.

The goal of this section is to convince readers that your business is going to be a financial success. It outlines your business plan to generate enough profit to repay the loan (with interest if applicable) and to generate a decent return on investment for investors.

If you have an existing business already in operation, use this section to demonstrate stability through finance. This section should include your cash flow statements, balance sheets, and income statements covering the last three to five years. If your business has some acceptable collateral that you can use to acquire loans, list it in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

Apart from current financial statements, this section should also contain a prospective financial outlook that spans the next five years. Include forecasted income statements, cash flow statements, balance sheets, and capital expenditure budget.

If your business is new and is not yet generating profit, use clear and realistic projections to show the potentials of your business.

When drafting this section, research industry norms and the performance of comparable businesses. Your financial projections should cover at least five years. State the logic behind your financial projections. Remember you can always make adjustments to this section as the variables change.

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section create a baseline which your business can either exceed or fail to reach. If your business fails to reach your projections in this section, you need to understand why it failed.

Investors and loan managers spend a lot of time going through the financial plan, metrics, and projection section compared to other parts of the business plan. Ensure you spend time creating credible financial analyses for your business in this section.

Many entrepreneurs find this section daunting to write. You do not need a business degree to create a solid financial forecast for your business. Business finances, especially for startups, are not as complicated as they seem. There are several online tools and templates that make writing this section so much easier.

Use Graphs and Charts

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section is a great place to use graphs and charts to tell the financial story of your business. Charts and images make it easier to communicate your finances.

Accuracy in this section is key, ensure you carefully analyze your past financial statements properly before making financial projects.

Address the Risk Factors and Show Realistic Financial Projections

Keep your financial plan, metrics, and projection realistic. It is okay to be optimistic in your financial projection, however, you have to justify it.

You should also address the various risk factors associated with your business in this section. Investors want to know the potential risks involved, show them. You should also show your plans for mitigating those risks.

What You Should In The Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection Section of Your Business Plan

The financial plan, metrics, and projection section of your business plan should have monthly sales and revenue forecasts for the first year. It should also include annual projections that cover 3 to 5 years.

A three-year projection is a basic requirement to have in your business plan. However, some investors may request a five-year forecast.

Your business plan should include the following financial statements: sales forecast, personnel plan, income statement, income statement, cash flow statement, balance sheet, and an exit strategy.

1. Sales Forecast

Sales forecast refers to your projections about the number of sales your business is going to record over the next few years. It is typically broken into several rows, with each row assigned to a core product or service that your business is offering.

One common mistake people make in their business plan is to break down the sales forecast section into long details. A sales forecast should forecast the high-level details.

For example, if you are forecasting sales for a payroll software provider, you could break down your forecast into target market segments or subscription categories.

Benefits of Sales Forecasting

Your sales forecast section should also have a corresponding row for each sales row to cover the direct cost or Cost of Goods Sold (COGS). The objective of these rows is to show the expenses that your business incurs in making and delivering your product or service.

Note that your Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) should only cover those direct costs incurred when making your products. Other indirect expenses such as insurance, salaries, payroll tax, and rent should not be included.

For example, the Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) for a restaurant is the cost of ingredients while for a consulting company it will be the cost of paper and other presentation materials.

Factors that affect sales forecasting

2. Personnel Plan

The personnel plan section is where you provide details about the payment plan for your employees. For a small business, you can easily list every position in your company and how much you plan to pay in the personnel plan.

However, for larger businesses, you have to break the personnel plan into functional groups such as sales and marketing.

The personnel plan will also include the cost of an employee beyond salary, commonly referred to as the employee burden. These costs include insurance, payroll taxes , and other essential costs incurred monthly as a result of having employees on your payroll.

True HR Cost Infographic

3. Income Statement

The income statement section shows if your business is making a profit or taking a loss. Another name for the income statement is the profit and loss (P&L). It takes data from your sales forecast and personnel plan and adds other ongoing expenses you incur while running your business.

The income statement section

Every business plan should have an income statement. It subtracts your business expenses from its earnings to show if your business is generating profit or incurring losses.

The income statement has the following items: sales, Cost of Goods Sold (COGS), gross margin, operating expenses, total operating expenses, operating income , total expenses, and net profit.

  • Sales refer to the revenue your business generates from selling its products or services. Other names for sales are income or revenue.
  • Cost of Goods Sold (COGS) refers to the total cost of selling your products. Other names for COGS are direct costs or cost of sales. Manufacturing businesses use the Costs of Goods Manufactured (COGM) .
  • Gross Margin is the figure you get when you subtract your COGS from your sales. In your income statement, you can express it as a percentage of total sales (Gross margin / Sales = Gross Margin Percent).
  • Operating Expenses refer to all the expenses you incur from running your business. It exempts the COGS because it stands alone as a core part of your income statement. You also have to exclude taxes, depreciation, and amortization. Your operating expenses include salaries, marketing expenses, research and development (R&D) expenses, and other expenses.
  • Total Operating Expenses refers to the sum of all your operating expenses including those exemptions named above under operating expenses.
  • Operating Income refers to earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization. It is simply known as the acronym EBITDA (earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization). Calculating your operating income is simple, all you need to do is to subtract your COGS and total operating expenses from your sales.
  • Total Expenses refer to the sum of your operating expenses and your business’ interest, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
  • Net profit shows whether your business has made a profit or taken a loss during a given timeframe.

4. Cash Flow Statement

The cash flow statement tracks the money you have in the bank at any given point. It is often confused with the income statement or the profit and loss statement. They are both different types of financial statements. The income statement calculates your profits and losses while the cash flow statement shows you how much you have in the bank.

Cash Flow Statement Example

5. Balance Sheet

The balance sheet is a financial statement that provides an overview of the financial health of your business. It contains information about the assets and liabilities of your company, and owner’s or shareholders’ equity.

You can get the net worth of your company by subtracting your company’s liabilities from its assets.

Balance sheet Formula

6. Exit Strategy

The exit strategy refers to a probable plan for selling your business either to the public in an IPO or to another company. It is the last thing you include in the financial plan, metrics, and projection section.

You can choose to omit the exit strategy from your business plan if you plan to maintain full ownership of your business and do not plan on seeking angel investment or virtual capitalist (VC) funding.

Investors may want to know what your exit plan is. They invest in your business to get a good return on investment.

Your exit strategy does not have to include long and boring details. Ensure you identify some interested parties who may be interested in buying the company if it becomes a success.

Exit Strategy Section of Business Plan Infographic

Key Questions to Answer with Your Financial Plan, Metrics, and Projection

Your financial plan, metrics, and projection section helps investors, creditors, or your internal managers to understand what your expenses are, the amount of cash you need, and what it takes to make your company profitable. It also shows what you will be doing with any funding.

You do not need to show actual financial data if you do not have one. Adding forecasts and projections to your financial statements is added proof that your strategy is feasible and shows investors you have planned properly.

Here are some key questions to answer to help you develop this section.

  • What is your sales forecast for the next year?
  • When will your company achieve a positive cash flow?
  • What are the core expenses you need to operate?
  • How much money do you need upfront to operate or grow your company?
  • How will you use the loans or investments?

9. Add an Appendix to Your Business Plan

Adding an appendix to your business plan is optional. It is a useful place to put any charts, tables, legal notes, definitions, permits, résumés, and other critical information that do not fit into other sections of your business plan.

The appendix section is where you would want to include details of a patent or patent-pending if you have one. You can always add illustrations or images of your products here. It is the last section of your business plan.

When writing your business plan, there are details you cut short or remove to prevent the entire section from becoming too lengthy. There are also details you want to include in the business plan but are not a good fit for any of the previous sections. You can add that additional information to the appendix section.

Businesses also use the appendix section to include supporting documents or other materials specially requested by investors or lenders.

You can include just about any information that supports the assumptions and statements you made in the business plan under the appendix. It is the one place in the business plan where unrelated data and information can coexist amicably.

If your appendix section is lengthy, try organizing it by adding a table of contents at the beginning of the appendix section. It is also advisable to group similar information to make it easier for the reader to access them.

A well-organized appendix section makes it easier to share your information clearly and concisely. Add footnotes throughout the rest of the business plan or make references in the plan to the documents in the appendix.

The appendix section is usually only necessary if you are seeking funding from investors or lenders, or hoping to attract partners.

People reading business plans do not want to spend time going through a heap of backup information, numbers, and charts. Keep these documents or information in the Appendix section in case the reader wants to dig deeper.

Common Items to Include in the Appendix Section of Your Business Plan

The appendix section includes documents that supplement or support the information or claims given in other sections of the business plans. Common items you can include in the appendix section include:

  • Additional data about the process of manufacturing or creation
  • Additional description of products or services such as product schematics
  • Additional financial documents or projections
  • Articles of incorporation and status
  • Backup for market research or competitive analysis
  • Bank statements
  • Business registries
  • Client testimonials (if your business is already running)
  • Copies of insurances
  • Credit histories (personal or/and business)
  • Deeds and permits
  • Equipment leases
  • Examples of marketing and advertising collateral
  • Industry associations and memberships
  • Images of product
  • Intellectual property
  • Key customer contracts
  • Legal documents and other contracts
  • Letters of reference
  • Links to references
  • Market research data
  • Organizational charts
  • Photographs of potential facilities
  • Professional licenses pertaining to your legal structure or type of business
  • Purchase orders
  • Resumes of the founder(s) and key managers
  • State and federal identification numbers or codes
  • Trademarks or patents’ registrations

Avoid using the appendix section as a place to dump any document or information you feel like adding. Only add documents or information that you support or increase the credibility of your business plan.

Tips and Strategies for Writing a Convincing Business Plan

To achieve a perfect business plan, you need to consider some key tips and strategies. These tips will raise the efficiency of your business plan above average.

1. Know Your Audience

When writing a business plan, you need to know your audience . Business owners write business plans for different reasons. Your business plan has to be specific. For example, you can write business plans to potential investors, banks, and even fellow board members of the company.

The audience you are writing to determines the structure of the business plan. As a business owner, you have to know your audience. Not everyone will be your audience. Knowing your audience will help you to narrow the scope of your business plan.

Consider what your audience wants to see in your projects, the likely questions they might ask, and what interests them.

  • A business plan used to address a company's board members will center on its employment schemes, internal affairs, projects, stakeholders, etc.
  • A business plan for financial institutions will talk about the size of your market and the chances for you to pay back any loans you demand.
  • A business plan for investors will show proof that you can return the investment capital within a specific time. In addition, it discusses your financial projections, tractions, and market size.

2. Get Inspiration from People

Writing a business plan from scratch as an entrepreneur can be daunting. That is why you need the right inspiration to push you to write one. You can gain inspiration from the successful business plans of other businesses. Look at their business plans, the style they use, the structure of the project, etc.

To make your business plan easier to create, search companies related to your business to get an exact copy of what you need to create an effective business plan. You can also make references while citing examples in your business plans.

When drafting your business plan, get as much help from others as you possibly can. By getting inspiration from people, you can create something better than what they have.

3. Avoid Being Over Optimistic

Many business owners make use of strong adjectives to qualify their content. One of the big mistakes entrepreneurs make when preparing a business plan is promising too much.

The use of superlatives and over-optimistic claims can prepare the audience for more than you can offer. In the end, you disappoint the confidence they have in you.

In most cases, the best option is to be realistic with your claims and statistics. Most of the investors can sense a bit of incompetency from the overuse of superlatives. As a new entrepreneur, do not be tempted to over-promise to get the interests of investors.

The concept of entrepreneurship centers on risks, nothing is certain when you make future analyses. What separates the best is the ability to do careful research and work towards achieving that, not promising more than you can achieve.

To make an excellent first impression as an entrepreneur, replace superlatives with compelling data-driven content. In this way, you are more specific than someone promising a huge ROI from an investment.

4. Keep it Simple and Short

When writing business plans, ensure you keep them simple throughout. Irrespective of the purpose of the business plan, your goal is to convince the audience.

One way to achieve this goal is to make them understand your proposal. Therefore, it would be best if you avoid the use of complex grammar to express yourself. It would be a huge turn-off if the people you want to convince are not familiar with your use of words.

Another thing to note is the length of your business plan. It would be best if you made it as brief as possible.

You hardly see investors or agencies that read through an extremely long document. In that case, if your first few pages can’t convince them, then you have lost it. The more pages you write, the higher the chances of you derailing from the essential contents.

To ensure your business plan has a high conversion rate, you need to dispose of every unnecessary information. For example, if you have a strategy that you are not sure of, it would be best to leave it out of the plan.

5. Make an Outline and Follow Through

A perfect business plan must have touched every part needed to convince the audience. Business owners get easily tempted to concentrate more on their products than on other sections. Doing this can be detrimental to the efficiency of the business plan.

For example, imagine you talking about a product but omitting or providing very little information about the target audience. You will leave your clients confused.

To ensure that your business plan communicates your full business model to readers, you have to input all the necessary information in it. One of the best ways to achieve this is to design a structure and stick to it.

This structure is what guides you throughout the writing. To make your work easier, you can assign an estimated word count or page limit to every section to avoid making it too bulky for easy reading. As a guide, the necessary things your business plan must contain are:

  • Table of contents
  • Introduction
  • Product or service description
  • Target audience
  • Market size
  • Competition analysis
  • Financial projections

Some specific businesses can include some other essential sections, but these are the key sections that must be in every business plan.

6. Ask a Professional to Proofread

When writing a business plan, you must tie all loose ends to get a perfect result. When you are done with writing, call a professional to go through the document for you. You are bound to make mistakes, and the way to correct them is to get external help.

You should get a professional in your field who can relate to every section of your business plan. It would be easier for the professional to notice the inner flaws in the document than an editor with no knowledge of your business.

In addition to getting a professional to proofread, get an editor to proofread and edit your document. The editor will help you identify grammatical errors, spelling mistakes, and inappropriate writing styles.

Writing a business plan can be daunting, but you can surmount that obstacle and get the best out of it with these tips.

Business Plan Examples and Templates That’ll Save You Tons of Time

1. hubspot's one-page business plan.

HubSpot's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan template by HubSpot is the perfect guide for businesses of any size, irrespective of their business strategy. Although the template is condensed into a page, your final business plan should not be a page long! The template is designed to ask helpful questions that can help you develop your business plan.

Hubspot’s one-page business plan template is divided into nine fields:

  • Business opportunity
  • Company description
  • Industry analysis
  • Target market
  • Implementation timeline
  • Marketing plan
  • Financial summary
  • Funding required

2. Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplan’s Free Business Plan Template

Bplans' free business plan template is investor-approved. It is a rich template used by prestigious educational institutions such as Babson College and Princeton University to teach entrepreneurs how to create a business plan.

The template has six sections: the executive summary, opportunity, execution, company, financial plan, and appendix. There is a step-by-step guide for writing every little detail in the business plan. Follow the instructions each step of the way and you will create a business plan that impresses investors or lenders easily.

3. HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot's Downloadable Business Plan Template

HubSpot’s downloadable business plan template is a more comprehensive option compared to the one-page business template by HubSpot. This free and downloadable business plan template is designed for entrepreneurs.

The template is a comprehensive guide and checklist for business owners just starting their businesses. It tells you everything you need to fill in each section of the business plan and how to do it.

There are nine sections in this business plan template: an executive summary, company and business description, product and services line, market analysis, marketing plan, sales plan, legal notes, financial considerations, and appendix.

4. Business Plan by My Own Business Institute

The Business Profile

My Own Business Institute (MOBI) which is a part of Santa Clara University's Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship offers a free business plan template. You can either copy the free business template from the link provided above or download it as a Word document.

The comprehensive template consists of a whopping 15 sections.

  • The Business Profile
  • The Vision and the People
  • Home-Based Business and Freelance Business Opportunities
  • Organization
  • Licenses and Permits
  • Business Insurance
  • Communication Tools
  • Acquisitions
  • Location and Leasing
  • Accounting and Cash Flow
  • Opening and Marketing
  • Managing Employees
  • Expanding and Handling Problems

There are lots of helpful tips on how to fill each section in the free business plan template by MOBI.

5. Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score's Business Plan Template for Startups

Score is an American nonprofit organization that helps entrepreneurs build successful companies. This business plan template for startups by Score is available for free download. The business plan template asks a whooping 150 generic questions that help entrepreneurs from different fields to set up the perfect business plan.

The business plan template for startups contains clear instructions and worksheets, all you have to do is answer the questions and fill the worksheets.

There are nine sections in the business plan template: executive summary, company description, products and services, marketing plan, operational plan, management and organization, startup expenses and capitalization, financial plan, and appendices.

The ‘refining the plan’ resource contains instructions that help you modify your business plan to suit your specific needs, industry, and target audience. After you have completed Score’s business plan template, you can work with a SCORE mentor for expert advice in business planning.

6. Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

Minimalist Architecture Business Plan Template by Venngage

The minimalist architecture business plan template is a simple template by Venngage that you can customize to suit your business needs .

There are five sections in the template: an executive summary, statement of problem, approach and methodology, qualifications, and schedule and benchmark. The business plan template has instructions that guide users on what to fill in each section.

7. Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

Small Business Administration Free Business Plan Template

The Small Business Administration (SBA) offers two free business plan templates, filled with practical real-life examples that you can model to create your business plan. Both free business plan templates are written by fictional business owners: Rebecca who owns a consulting firm, and Andrew who owns a toy company.

There are five sections in the two SBA’s free business plan templates.

  • Executive Summary
  • Company Description
  • Service Line
  • Marketing and Sales

8. The $100 Startup's One-Page Business Plan

The $100 Startup's One Page Business Plan

The one-page business plan by the $100 startup is a simple business plan template for entrepreneurs who do not want to create a long and complicated plan . You can include more details in the appendices for funders who want more information beyond what you can put in the one-page business plan.

There are five sections in the one-page business plan such as overview, ka-ching, hustling, success, and obstacles or challenges or open questions. You can answer all the questions using one or two sentences.

9. PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

PandaDoc’s Free Business Plan Template

The free business plan template by PandaDoc is a comprehensive 15-page document that describes the information you should include in every section.

There are 11 sections in PandaDoc’s free business plan template.

  • Executive summary
  • Business description
  • Products and services
  • Operations plan
  • Management organization
  • Financial plan
  • Conclusion / Call to action
  • Confidentiality statement

You have to sign up for its 14-day free trial to access the template. You will find different business plan templates on PandaDoc once you sign up (including templates for general businesses and specific businesses such as bakeries, startups, restaurants, salons, hotels, and coffee shops)

PandaDoc allows you to customize its business plan templates to fit the needs of your business. After editing the template, you can send it to interested parties and track opens and views through PandaDoc.

10. Invoiceberry Templates for Word, Open Office, Excel, or PPT

Invoiceberry Templates Business Concept

InvoiceBerry is a U.K based online invoicing and tracking platform that offers free business plan templates in .docx, .odt, .xlsx, and .pptx formats for freelancers and small businesses.

Before you can download the free business plan template, it will ask you to give it your email address. After you complete the little task, it will send the download link to your inbox for you to download. It also provides a business plan checklist in .xlsx file format that ensures you add the right information to the business plan.

Alternatives to the Traditional Business Plan

A business plan is very important in mapping out how one expects their business to grow over a set number of years, particularly when they need external investment in their business. However, many investors do not have the time to watch you present your business plan. It is a long and boring read.

Luckily, there are three alternatives to the traditional business plan (the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck). These alternatives are less laborious and easier and quicker to present to investors.

Business Model Canvas (BMC)

The business model canvas is a business tool used to present all the important components of setting up a business, such as customers, route to market, value proposition, and finance in a single sheet. It provides a very focused blueprint that defines your business initially which you can later expand on if needed.

Business Model Canvas (BMC) Infographic

The sheet is divided mainly into company, industry, and consumer models that are interconnected in how they find problems and proffer solutions.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

The business model canvas was developed by founder Alexander Osterwalder to answer important business questions. It contains nine segments.

Segments of the Business Model Canvas

  • Key Partners: Who will be occupying important executive positions in your business? What do they bring to the table? Will there be a third party involved with the company?
  • Key Activities: What important activities will production entail? What activities will be carried out to ensure the smooth running of the company?
  • The Product’s Value Propositions: What does your product do? How will it be different from other products?
  • Customer Segments: What demography of consumers are you targeting? What are the habits of these consumers? Who are the MVPs of your target consumers?
  • Customer Relationships: How will the team support and work with its customer base? How do you intend to build and maintain trust with the customer?
  • Key Resources: What type of personnel and tools will be needed? What size of the budget will they need access to?
  • Channels: How do you plan to create awareness of your products? How do you intend to transport your product to the customer?
  • Cost Structure: What is the estimated cost of production? How much will distribution cost?
  • Revenue Streams: For what value are customers willing to pay? How do they prefer to pay for the product? Are there any external revenues attached apart from the main source? How do the revenue streams contribute to the overall revenue?

Lean Canvas

The lean canvas is a problem-oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas. It was proposed by Ash Maurya, creator of Lean Stack as a development of the business model generation. It uses a more problem-focused approach and it majorly targets entrepreneurs and startup businesses.

The lean canvas is a problem oriented alternative to the standard business model canvas

Lean Canvas uses the same 9 blocks concept as the business model canvas, however, they have been modified slightly to suit the needs and purpose of a small startup. The key partners, key activities, customer relationships, and key resources are replaced by new segments which are:

  • Problem: Simple and straightforward number of problems you have identified, ideally three.
  • Solution: The solutions to each problem.
  • Unfair Advantage: Something you possess that can't be easily bought or replicated.
  • Key Metrics: Important numbers that will tell how your business is doing.

Startup Pitch Deck

While the business model canvas compresses into a factual sheet, startup pitch decks expand flamboyantly.

Pitch decks, through slides, convey your business plan, often through graphs and images used to emphasize estimations and observations in your presentation. Entrepreneurs often use pitch decks to fully convince their target audience of their plans before discussing funding arrangements.

Startup Pitch Deck Presentation

Considering the likelihood of it being used in a small time frame, a good startup pitch deck should ideally contain 20 slides or less to have enough time to answer questions from the audience.

Unlike the standard and lean business model canvases, a pitch deck doesn't have a set template on how to present your business plan but there are still important components to it. These components often mirror those of the business model canvas except that they are in slide form and contain more details.

Airbnb Pitch Deck

Using Airbnb (one of the most successful start-ups in recent history) for reference, the important components of a good slide are listed below.

  • Cover/Introduction Slide: Here, you should include your company's name and mission statement. Your mission statement should be a very catchy tagline. Also, include personal information and contact details to provide an easy link for potential investors.
  • Problem Slide: This slide requires you to create a connection with the audience or the investor that you are pitching. For example in their pitch, Airbnb summarized the most important problems it would solve in three brief points – pricing of hotels, disconnection from city culture, and connection problems for local bookings.
  • Solution Slide: This slide includes your core value proposition. List simple and direct solutions to the problems you have mentioned
  • Customer Analysis: Here you will provide information on the customers you will be offering your service to. The identity of your customers plays an important part in fundraising as well as the long-run viability of the business.
  • Market Validation: Use competitive analysis to show numbers that prove the presence of a market for your product, industry behavior in the present and the long run, as well as the percentage of the market you aim to attract. It shows that you understand your competitors and customers and convinces investors of the opportunities presented in the market.
  • Business Model: Your business model is the hook of your presentation. It may vary in complexity but it should generally include a pricing system informed by your market analysis. The goal of the slide is to confirm your business model is easy to implement.
  • Marketing Strategy: This slide should summarize a few customer acquisition methods that you plan to use to grow the business.
  • Competitive Advantage: What this slide will do is provide information on what will set you apart and make you a more attractive option to customers. It could be the possession of technology that is not widely known in the market.
  • Team Slide: Here you will give a brief description of your team. Include your key management personnel here and their specific roles in the company. Include their educational background, job history, and skillsets. Also, talk about their accomplishments in their careers so far to build investors' confidence in members of your team.
  • Traction Slide: This validates the company’s business model by showing growth through early sales and support. The slide aims to reduce any lingering fears in potential investors by showing realistic periodic milestones and profit margins. It can include current sales, growth, valuable customers, pre-orders, or data from surveys outlining current consumer interest.
  • Funding Slide: This slide is popularly referred to as ‘the ask'. Here you will include important details like how much is needed to get your business off the ground and how the funding will be spent to help the company reach its goals.
  • Appendix Slides: Your pitch deck appendix should always be included alongside a standard pitch presentation. It consists of additional slides you could not show in the pitch deck but you need to complement your presentation.

It is important to support your calculations with pictorial renditions. Infographics, such as pie charts or bar graphs, will be more effective in presenting the information than just listing numbers. For example, a six-month graph that shows rising profit margins will easily look more impressive than merely writing it.

Lastly, since a pitch deck is primarily used to secure meetings and you may be sharing your pitch with several investors, it is advisable to keep a separate public version that doesn't include financials. Only disclose the one with projections once you have secured a link with an investor.

Advantages of the Business Model Canvas, Lean Canvas, and Startup Pitch Deck over the Traditional Business Plan

  • Time-Saving: Writing a detailed traditional business plan could take weeks or months. On the other hand, all three alternatives can be done in a few days or even one night of brainstorming if you have a comprehensive understanding of your business.
  • Easier to Understand: Since the information presented is almost entirely factual, it puts focus on what is most important in running the business. They cut away the excess pages of fillers in a traditional business plan and allow investors to see what is driving the business and what is getting in the way.
  • Easy to Update: Businesses typically present their business plans to many potential investors before they secure funding. What this means is that you may regularly have to amend your presentation to update statistics or adjust to audience-specific needs. For a traditional business plan, this could mean rewriting a whole section of your plan. For the three alternatives, updating is much easier because they are not voluminous.
  • Guide for a More In-depth Business Plan: All three alternatives have the added benefit of being able to double as a sketch of your business plan if the need to create one arises in the future.

Business Plan FAQ

Business plans are important for any entrepreneur who is looking for a framework to run their company over some time or seeking external support. Although they are essential for new businesses, every company should ideally have a business plan to track their growth from time to time.  They can be used by startups seeking investments or loans to convey their business ideas or an employee to convince his boss of the feasibility of starting a new project. They can also be used by companies seeking to recruit high-profile employee targets into key positions or trying to secure partnerships with other firms.

Business plans often vary depending on your target audience, the scope, and the goals for the plan. Startup plans are the most common among the different types of business plans.  A start-up plan is used by a new business to present all the necessary information to help get the business up and running. They are usually used by entrepreneurs who are seeking funding from investors or bank loans. The established company alternative to a start-up plan is a feasibility plan. A feasibility plan is often used by an established company looking for new business opportunities. They are used to show the upsides of creating a new product for a consumer base. Because the audience is usually company people, it requires less company analysis. The third type of business plan is the lean business plan. A lean business plan is a brief, straight-to-the-point breakdown of your ideas and analysis for your business. It does not contain details of your proposal and can be written on one page. Finally, you have the what-if plan. As it implies, a what-if plan is a preparation for the worst-case scenario. You must always be prepared for the possibility of your original plan being rejected. A good what-if plan will serve as a good plan B to the original.

A good business plan has 10 key components. They include an executive plan, product analysis, desired customer base, company analysis, industry analysis, marketing strategy, sales strategy, financial projection, funding, and appendix. Executive Plan Your business should begin with your executive plan. An executive plan will provide early insight into what you are planning to achieve with your business. It should include your mission statement and highlight some of the important points which you will explain later. Product Analysis The next component of your business plan is your product analysis. A key part of this section is explaining the type of item or service you are going to offer as well as the market problems your product will solve. Desired Consumer Base Your product analysis should be supplemented with a detailed breakdown of your desired consumer base. Investors are always interested in knowing the economic power of your market as well as potential MVP customers. Company Analysis The next component of your business plan is your company analysis. Here, you explain how you want to run your business. It will include your operational strategy, an insight into the workforce needed to keep the company running, and important executive positions. It will also provide a calculation of expected operational costs.  Industry Analysis A good business plan should also contain well laid out industry analysis. It is important to convince potential investors you know the companies you will be competing with, as well as your plans to gain an edge on the competition. Marketing Strategy Your business plan should also include your marketing strategy. This is how you intend to spread awareness of your product. It should include a detailed explanation of the company brand as well as your advertising methods. Sales Strategy Your sales strategy comes after the market strategy. Here you give an overview of your company's pricing strategy and how you aim to maximize profits. You can also explain how your prices will adapt to market behaviors. Financial Projection The financial projection is the next component of your business plan. It explains your company's expected running cost and revenue earned during the tenure of the business plan. Financial projection gives a clear idea of how your company will develop in the future. Funding The next component of your business plan is funding. You have to detail how much external investment you need to get your business idea off the ground here. Appendix The last component of your plan is the appendix. This is where you put licenses, graphs, or key information that does not fit in any of the other components.

The business model canvas is a business management tool used to quickly define your business idea and model. It is often used when investors need you to pitch your business idea during a brief window.

A pitch deck is similar to a business model canvas except that it makes use of slides in its presentation. A pitch is not primarily used to secure funding, rather its main purpose is to entice potential investors by selling a very optimistic outlook on the business.

Business plan competitions help you evaluate the strength of your business plan. By participating in business plan competitions, you are improving your experience. The experience provides you with a degree of validation while practicing important skills. The main motivation for entering into the competitions is often to secure funding by finishing in podium positions. There is also the chance that you may catch the eye of a casual observer outside of the competition. These competitions also provide good networking opportunities. You could meet mentors who will take a keen interest in guiding you in your business journey. You also have the opportunity to meet other entrepreneurs whose ideas can complement yours.

Exlore Further

  • 12 Key Elements of a Business Plan (Top Components Explained)
  • 13 Sources of Business Finance For Companies & Sole Traders
  • 5 Common Types of Business Structures (+ Pros & Cons)
  • How to Buy a Business in 8 Steps (+ Due Diligence Checklist)

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Martin loves entrepreneurship and has helped dozens of entrepreneurs by validating the business idea, finding scalable customer acquisition channels, and building a data-driven organization. During his time working in investment banking, tech startups, and industry-leading companies he gained extensive knowledge in using different software tools to optimize business processes.

This insights and his love for researching SaaS products enables him to provide in-depth, fact-based software reviews to enable software buyers make better decisions.

Startup Connection

Merchandising Plan Template

Elements of a successful merchandising plan.

By Bert Shlensky, PhD Part of the Startup Connection Business Library Copyright © 2014 by Bert Shlensky, PhD All Rights Reserved.

merchandising plan template

Merchandising Plan directions

What is a merchandising plan.

A good merchandising plan is essential to insure smooth and stable growth, especially when a company is young and running on slim inventory reserves. With a merchandising plan you are able to answer many questions that might arise as sales begin to grow and change.

While the merchandising plan is mainly a retail or internet concept, it also should be adapted for service industries. In general it is a plan to have the right inventory, at the right time in the right amount to maximize your sales, profits and returns . Your plan needs to include a variety of information and concepts. And yes it is mainly numbers that are necessary to understand for the success of your business.

Elements of a Good Merchandising Plan

Your Product Listing

The merchandising plan starts with listing each product or SKU (stock keeping unit) that you are selling. This SKU list must be broken down by style, flavor, size, color, width etc.—whatever the variables are for your products, they must be on your list and they must be track-able. There are differences in describing products. A yogurt shop might have 10 flavors, 20 toppings and five sizes and customize the product for each customer. However they really only stock 35 “core ingredients” and then they customize those into thousands of combinations.

In contrast a shoe store may have 20 styles, six colors, six lengths, and four widths which multiply to over 2500 different SKUS. Managing those SKUs when less than about 100 probably represent 80 % of the sales is the challenge in that product category.

The main caution is to remember to review carefully all the options you need to sell. The listing also requires a style number and usually a UPC code. Listing all that information on a chart is critical to developing the plan. Here are just a sample of products and some variations:

Mech-table

In service businesses the list is frequently called a schedule but is equally important. How many people do you need at what hours to perform what tasks?

Determining Your Costs

You also need to detail the parameters of each SKU in terms of cost, wholesale if applicable and retail if applicable. Cost should include everything like freight, fees, distribution costs, etc. If your products are frequently promoted you need to review both the regular price and the average promotional price.

Estimating Your Quantities

Determining the quantity of each product you carry begins with knowing how much you plan to sell in a given period, be it monthly, quarterly or annually. This part of your plan must also be detailed by seasons, peak buying periods (e.g., Holidays) or promotion and sales events. Your quantity plan should be estimated by both units and dollars.

Typical ways to estimate unit and sales numbers are to consider individual estimates by product, history, or percentage estimates of the total. I recommend the later if there is no history because it forces you to understand the totals and the breakdown to individual products and categories.

Planning Your Number of “Turns”

The next number required for your merchandising plan is to determine your inventory requirements based on frequency of demand. These numbers are calculated by estimating your “turns”–the number of times in the period your item sells. For example if you are planning to sell $1 million in a year and have two turns you will need about $500,000 of inventory (with some in reserve). However, if you turn your products four times you will only need $ 250,000 in inventory during any period. There are numerous ways to increase your turn rate, such as stocking more of the high volume items, reducing order times, reducing shipping times and managing seasonality. These efforts may be somewhat offset by minimum purchase requirements, especially when you are starting out and can’t afford to buy at the volume levels of much larger companies.

Designing Your Analytics and Reporting

One of the main reasons for a carefully-designed merchandising plan is to enable you to analyze your performance. Reliable reporting will not only enable you to manage your inventory more efficiently and profitably, but it will allow you to make information clear for partners and suppliers.

The first question you will want to answer with your analysis is whether or not your sales and inventory plans are realistic, profitable and affordable. Unless you are purchasing physical assets such as real estate, your inventory is frequently your largest investment and often represents a majority of your cash flow. There are ways to minimize the negative impact of inventory financing, such as direct shipping of your products from your suppliers to your customers. “Just in time” parts and ingredient management is also a tool to keep your cash outlays in line with sales.

Your analytics will also allow you to determine how profitable each product is for your business. Gross profit calculations may be made by item, by category, by location, and many other variables, each of which may be critical to your success.

Gross profit—or “Gross Margin” is calculated simply by the following equation:

Gross Profit = (Sales – Costs) / Sales

For example, if you sell a pair of shoes at retail for $100 and they cost you $30 to produce, your Gross Profit is equal to ($100 – $30)/$100 or 70%. Each industry has standards for Gross Profits that must be met in order to have enough cash flow to meet payroll, other operating expenses, marketing, and still make a profit.

Return on investment (ROI) refers to your profits in relation to your inventory investment or

Gross Profit /Inventory investment

This is another measure of your profitability and there are industry standards that you may use for comparison.

You also need to plan sales, purchases and inventories over a period. This should be updated on a weekly or monthly basis depending on your “turn rate”. You also need to consider lead times, delivery commitments, minimums, stock outs and returns in these calculations. Ask your vendors when and how you can modify orders, their terms and their capabilities.

Sample Merchandising Plan

A simple merchandising plan is provided on the spreadsheet e. This spreadsheet is “live”, enabling you to test it using your own products and numbers. The spreadsheet is without the long term planning element, which should be separate

In summary the merchandising plan is really the engine that quantifies your products, their financial impact on your entire business and the marketing plans you will need to support sales. On the one hand, being in stock with the right items is critical to success, profits and customer service. On the other hand being in stock with obsolete or slow selling inventory is a frequent cause of excess investment requirements and lower than projected profits.

Managing that balance can be facilitated by planning, working with suppliers, managing lead times, and optimizing retail sales based upon analysis.

Please Download this Excel Spreadsheet as part of this lesson:

Merchandising_Plan_Template .xls

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550+ Free Sample Business Plans

550+ Business Plan Examples to Launch Your Business

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Need help writing your business plan? Explore over 550 industry-specific business plan examples for inspiration.

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Example business plan format

Before you start exploring our library of business plan examples, it's worth taking the time to understand the traditional business plan format . You'll find that the plans in this library and most investor-approved business plans will include the following sections:

Executive summary

The executive summary is an overview of your business and your plans. It comes first in your plan and is ideally only one to two pages. You should also plan to write this section last after you've written your full business plan.

Your executive summary should include a summary of the problem you are solving, a description of your product or service, an overview of your target market, a brief description of your team, a summary of your financials, and your funding requirements (if you are raising money).

Products & services

The products & services chapter of your business plan is where the real meat of your plan lives. It includes information about the problem that you're solving, your solution, and any traction that proves that it truly meets the need you identified.

This is your chance to explain why you're in business and that people care about what you offer. It needs to go beyond a simple product or service description and get to the heart of why your business works and benefits your customers.

Market analysis

Conducting a market analysis ensures that you fully understand the market that you're entering and who you'll be selling to. This section is where you will showcase all of the information about your potential customers. You'll cover your target market as well as information about the growth of your market and your industry. Focus on outlining why the market you're entering is viable and creating a realistic persona for your ideal customer base.

Competition

Part of defining your opportunity is determining what your competitive advantage may be. To do this effectively you need to get to know your competitors just as well as your target customers. Every business will have competition, if you don't then you're either in a very young industry or there's a good reason no one is pursuing this specific venture.

To succeed, you want to be sure you know who your competitors are, how they operate, necessary financial benchmarks, and how you're business will be positioned. Start by identifying who your competitors are or will be during your market research. Then leverage competitive analysis tools like the competitive matrix and positioning map to solidify where your business stands in relation to the competition.

Marketing & sales

The marketing and sales plan section of your business plan details how you plan to reach your target market segments. You'll address how you plan on selling to those target markets, what your pricing plan is, and what types of activities and partnerships you need to make your business a success.

The operations section covers the day-to-day workflows for your business to deliver your product or service. What's included here fully depends on the type of business. Typically you can expect to add details on your business location, sourcing and fulfillment, use of technology, and any partnerships or agreements that are in place.

Milestones & metrics

The milestones section is where you lay out strategic milestones to reach your business goals.

A good milestone clearly lays out the parameters of the task at hand and sets expectations for its execution. You'll want to include a description of the task, a proposed due date, who is responsible, and eventually a budget that's attached. You don't need extensive project planning in this section, just key milestones that you want to hit and when you plan to hit them.

You should also discuss key metrics, which are the numbers you will track to determine your success. Some common data points worth tracking include conversion rates, customer acquisition costs, profit, etc.

Company & team

Use this section to describe your current team and who you need to hire. If you intend to pursue funding, you'll need to highlight the relevant experience of your team members. Basically, this is where you prove that this is the right team to successfully start and grow the business. You will also need to provide a quick overview of your legal structure and history if you're already up and running.

Financial projections

Your financial plan should include a sales and revenue forecast, profit and loss statement, cash flow statement, and a balance sheet. You may not have established financials of any kind at this stage. Not to worry, rather than getting all of the details ironed out, focus on making projections and strategic forecasts for your business. You can always update your financial statements as you begin operations and start bringing in actual accounting data.

Now, if you intend to pitch to investors or submit a loan application, you'll also need a "use of funds" report in this section. This outlines how you intend to leverage any funding for your business and how much you're looking to acquire. Like the rest of your financials, this can always be updated later on.

The appendix isn't a required element of your business plan. However, it is a useful place to add any charts, tables, definitions, legal notes, or other critical information that supports your plan. These are often lengthier or out-of-place information that simply didn't work naturally into the structure of your plan. You'll notice that in these business plan examples, the appendix mainly includes extended financial statements.

Types of business plans explained

While all business plans cover similar categories, the style and function fully depend on how you intend to use your plan. To get the most out of your plan, it's best to find a format that suits your needs. Here are a few common business plan types worth considering.

Traditional business plan

The tried-and-true traditional business plan is a formal document meant to be used for external purposes. Typically this is the type of plan you'll need when applying for funding or pitching to investors. It can also be used when training or hiring employees, working with vendors, or in any other situation where the full details of your business must be understood by another individual.

Business model canvas

The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea.

The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template. It encourages you to build connections between every element of your business. It's faster to write out and update, and much easier for you, your team, and anyone else to visualize your business operations.

One-page business plan

The true middle ground between the business model canvas and a traditional business plan is the one-page business plan . This format is a simplified version of the traditional plan that focuses on the core aspects of your business.

By starting with a one-page plan , you give yourself a minimal document to build from. You'll typically stick with bullet points and single sentences making it much easier to elaborate or expand sections into a longer-form business plan.

Growth planning

Growth planning is more than a specific type of business plan. It's a methodology. It takes the simplicity and styling of the one-page business plan and turns it into a process for you to continuously plan, forecast, review, and refine based on your performance.

It holds all of the benefits of the single-page plan, including the potential to complete it in as little as 27 minutes . However, it's even easier to convert into a more detailed plan thanks to how heavily it's tied to your financials. The overall goal of growth planning isn't to just produce documents that you use once and shelve. Instead, the growth planning process helps you build a healthier company that thrives in times of growth and remain stable through times of crisis.

It's faster, keeps your plan concise, and ensures that your plan is always up-to-date.

Download a free sample business plan template

Ready to start writing your own plan but aren't sure where to start? Download our free business plan template that's been updated for 2024.

This simple, modern, investor-approved business plan template is designed to make planning easy. It's a proven format that has helped over 1 million businesses write business plans for bank loans, funding pitches, business expansion, and even business sales. It includes additional instructions for how to write each section and is formatted to be SBA-lender approved. All you need to do is fill in the blanks.

How to use an example business plan to help you write your own

Wistia video thumbnail for video id e929pxw2b2

How do you know what elements need to be included in your business plan, especially if you've never written one before? Looking at examples can help you visualize what a full, traditional plan looks like, so you know what you're aiming for before you get started. Here's how to get the most out of a sample business plan.

Choose a business plan example from a similar type of company

You don't need to find an example business plan that's an exact fit for your business. Your business location, target market, and even your particular product or service may not match up exactly with the plans in our gallery. But, you don't need an exact match for it to be helpful. Instead, look for a plan that's related to the type of business you're starting.

For example, if you want to start a vegetarian restaurant, a plan for a steakhouse can be a great match. While the specifics of your actual startup will differ, the elements you'd want to include in your restaurant's business plan are likely to be very similar.

Use a business plan example as a guide

Every startup and small business is unique, so you'll want to avoid copying an example business plan word for word. It just won't be as helpful, since each business is unique. You want your plan to be a useful tool for starting a business —and getting funding if you need it.

One of the key benefits of writing a business plan is simply going through the process. When you sit down to write, you'll naturally think through important pieces, like your startup costs, your target market , and any market analysis or research you'll need to do to be successful.

You'll also look at where you stand among your competition (and everyone has competition), and lay out your goals and the milestones you'll need to meet. Looking at an example business plan's financials section can be helpful because you can see what should be included, but take them with a grain of salt. Don't assume that financial projections for a sample company will fit your own small business.

If you're looking for more resources to help you get started, our business planning guide is a good place to start. You can also download our free business plan template .

Think of business planning as a process, instead of a document

Think about business planning as something you do often , rather than a document you create once and never look at again. If you take the time to write a plan that really fits your own company, it will be a better, more useful tool to grow your business. It should also make it easier to share your vision and strategy so everyone on your team is on the same page.

Adjust your plan regularly to use it as a business management tool

Keep in mind that businesses that use their plan as a management tool to help run their business grow 30 percent faster than those businesses that don't. For that to be true for your company, you'll think of a part of your business planning process as tracking your actual results against your financial forecast on a regular basis.

If things are going well, your plan will help you think about how you can re-invest in your business. If you find that you're not meeting goals, you might need to adjust your budgets or your sales forecast. Either way, tracking your progress compared to your plan can help you adjust quickly when you identify challenges and opportunities—it's one of the most powerful things you can do to grow your business.

Prepare to pitch your business

If you're planning to pitch your business to investors or seek out any funding, you'll need a pitch deck to accompany your business plan. A pitch deck is designed to inform people about your business. You want your pitch deck to be short and easy to follow, so it's best to keep your presentation under 20 slides.

Your pitch deck and pitch presentation are likely some of the first things that an investor will see to learn more about your company. So, you need to be informative and pique their interest. Luckily we have a round-up of real-world pitch deck examples used by successful startups that you can review and reference as you build your pitch.

For more resources, check out our full Business Pitch Guide .

Ready to get started?

Now that you know how to use an example business plan to help you write a plan for your business, it's time to find the right one.

Use the search bar below to get started and find the right match for your business idea.

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merchandising business plan sample

What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

Clifford Chi

Published: December 27, 2023

For a while now, you've been spearheading your organization's content marketing efforts, and your team's performance has convinced management to adopt the content marketing strategies you’ve suggested.

marketing plan and how to write one

Now, your boss wants you to write and present a content marketing plan, but you‘ve never done something like that before. You don't even know where to start.

Download Now: Free Marketing Plan Template [Get Your Copy]

Fortunately, we've curated the best content marketing plans to help you write a concrete plan that's rooted in data and produces results. But first, we'll discuss what a marketing plan is and how some of the best marketing plans include strategies that serve their respective businesses.

What is a marketing plan?

A marketing plan is a strategic roadmap that businesses use to organize, execute, and track their marketing strategy over a given period. Marketing plans can include different marketing strategies for various marketing teams across the company, all working toward the same business goals.

The purpose of a marketing plan is to write down strategies in an organized manner. This will help keep you on track and measure the success of your campaigns.

Writing a marketing plan will help you think of each campaign‘s mission, buyer personas, budget, tactics, and deliverables. With all this information in one place, you’ll have an easier time staying on track with a campaign. You'll also discover what works and what doesn't. Thus, measuring the success of your strategy.

Featured Resource: Free Marketing Plan Template

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

Looking to develop a marketing plan for your business? Click here to download HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template to get started .

To learn more about how to create your marketing plan, keep reading or jump to the section you’re looking for:

How to Write a Marketing Plan

Types of marketing plans, marketing plan examples, marketing plan faqs, sample marketing plan.

Marketing plan definition graphic

If you're pressed for time or resources, you might not be thinking about a marketing plan. However, a marketing plan is an important part of your business plan.

Marketing Plan vs. Business Plan

A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics.

A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your business grows.

I like to think of a marketing plan as a subset of a business plan; it shows how marketing strategies and objectives can support overall business goals.

Keep in mind that there's a difference between a marketing plan and a marketing strategy.

merchandising business plan sample

Free Marketing Plan Template

Outline your company's marketing strategy in one simple, coherent plan.

  • Pre-Sectioned Template
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You're all set!

Click this link to access this resource at any time.

Marketing Strategy vs. Marketing Plan

A marketing strategy describes how a business will accomplish a particular goal or mission. This includes which campaigns, content, channels, and marketing software they'll use to execute that mission and track its success.

For example, while a greater plan or department might handle social media marketing, you might consider your work on Facebook as an individual marketing strategy.

A marketing plan contains one or more marketing strategies. It's the framework from which all of your marketing strategies are created and helps you connect each strategy back to a larger marketing operation and business goal.

For example, suppose your company is launching a new software product, and it wants customers to sign up. The marketing department needs to develop a marketing plan that'll help introduce this product to the industry and drive the desired signups.

The department decides to launch a blog dedicated to this industry, a new YouTube video series to establish expertise, and an account on Twitter to join the conversation around this subject. All this serves to attract an audience and convert this audience into software users.

To summarize, the business's marketing plan is dedicated to introducing a new software product to the marketplace and driving signups for that product. The business will execute that plan with three marketing strategies : a new industry blog, a YouTube video series, and a Twitter account.

Of course, the business might consider these three things as one giant marketing strategy, each with its specific content strategies. How granular you want your marketing plan to get is up to you. Nonetheless, every marketing plan goes through a particular set of steps in its creation.

Learn what they are below.

  • State your business's mission.
  • Determine the KPIs for this mission.
  • Identify your buyer personas.
  • Describe your content initiatives and strategies.
  • Clearly define your plan's omissions.
  • Define your marketing budget.
  • Identify your competition.
  • Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

1. State your business's mission.

Your first step in writing a marketing plan is to state your mission. Although this mission is specific to your marketing department, it should serve your business‘s main mission statement.

From my experience, you want to be specific, but not too specific. You have plenty of space left in this marketing plan to elaborate on how you'll acquire new customers and accomplish this mission.

mission-statement-examples

Need help building your mission statement? Download this guide for examples and templates and write the ideal mission statement.

2. Determine the KPIs for this mission.

Every good marketing plan describes how the department will track its mission‘s progress. To do so, you need to decide on your key performance indicators (KPIs) .

KPIs are individual metrics that measure the various elements of a marketing campaign. These units help you establish short-term goals within your mission and communicate your progress to business leaders.

Let's take our example of a marketing mission from the above step. If part of our mission is “to attract an audience of travelers,” we might track website visits using organic page views. In this case, “organic page views” is one KPI, and we can see our number of page views grow over time.

Also, make sure to check whether your current reporting software facilitates the KPIs you need. Some reporting tools can only measure a set of pre-defined metrics, which can cause massive headaches in particular marketing campaigns.

However, other tools, like HubSpot’s analytics software , can offer full flexibility over the KPIs you wish to track. You can generate custom reports that reveal anything from average website engagement rates to page visits via organic, email, social media traffic, and more.   

These KPIs will come into the conversation again in step 4.

3. Identify your buyer personas.

A buyer persona is a description of who you want to attract. This can include age, sex, location, family size, and job title. Each buyer persona should directly reflect your business's current and potential customers. So, all business leaders must agree on your buyer personas.

buyer-persona-templates

Create your buyer personas with this free guide and set of buyer persona templates.

4. Describe your content initiatives and strategies.

Here's where you'll include the main points of your marketing and content strategy. Because there's a laundry list of content types and channels available to you today, you must choose wisely and explain how you'll use your content and channels in this section of your marketing plan.

When I write this section , I like to stipulate:

  • Which types of content I'll create. These might include blog posts, YouTube videos, infographics, and ebooks.
  • How much of it I'll create. I typically describe content volume in daily, weekly, monthly, or even quarterly intervals. It all depends on my workflow and the short-term goals for my content.
  • The goals (and KPIs) I'll use to track each type. KPIs can include organic traffic, social media traffic, email traffic, and referral traffic. Your goals should also include which pages you want to drive that traffic to, such as product pages, blog pages, or landing pages.
  • The channels on which I'll distribute my content. Popular channels include Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram.
  • Any paid advertising that will take place on these channels.

Build out your marketing plan with this free template.

Fill out this form to access the template., 5. clearly define your plan's omissions..

A marketing plan explains the marketing team's focus. It also explains what the marketing team will not focus on.

If there are other aspects of your business that you aren't serving in this particular plan, include them in this section. These omissions help to justify your mission, buyer personas, KPIs, and content. You can’t please everyone in a single marketing campaign, and if your team isn't on the hook for something, you need to make it known.

In my experience, this section is particularly important for stakeholders to help them understand why certain decisions were made.

6. Define your marketing budget.

Whether it's freelance fees, sponsorships, or a new full-time marketing hire, use these costs to develop a marketing budget and outline each expense in this section of your marketing plan.

marketing-budget-templates

You can establish your marketing budget with this kit of 8 free marketing budget templates .

7. Identify your competition.

Part of marketing is knowing whom you're marketing against. Research the key players in your industry and consider profiling each one.

Keep in mind not every competitor will pose the same challenges to your business. For example, while one competitor might be ranking highly on search engines for keywords you want your website to rank for, another competitor might have a heavy footprint on a social network where you plan to launch an account.

competitive-analysis-templates

Easily track and analyze your competitors with this collection of ten free competitive analysis templates .

8. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

With your marketing plan fully fleshed out, it's time to explain who’s doing what. I don't like to delve too deeply into my employees’ day-to-day projects, but I know which teams and team leaders are in charge of specific content types, channels, KPIs, and more.

Now that you know why you need to build an effective marketing plan, it’s time to get to work. Starting a plan from scratch can be overwhelming if you haven't done it before. That’s why there are many helpful resources that can support your first steps. We’ll share some of the best guides and templates that can help you build effective results-driven plans for your marketing strategies.

Ready to make your own marketing plan? Get started using this free template.

Depending on the company you work with, you might want to create various marketing plans. We compiled different samples to suit your needs:

1. Quarterly or Annual Marketing Plans

These plans highlight the strategies or campaigns you'll take on in a certain period.

marketing plan examples: forbes

Forbes published a marketing plan template that has amassed almost 4 million views. To help you sculpt a marketing roadmap with true vision, their template will teach you how to fill out the 15 key sections of a marketing plan, which are:

  • Executive Summary
  • Target Customers
  • Unique Selling Proposition
  • Pricing & Positioning Strategy
  • Distribution Plan
  • Your Offers
  • Marketing Materials
  • Promotions Strategy
  • Online Marketing Strategy
  • Conversion Strategy
  • Joint Ventures & Partnerships
  • Referral Strategy
  • Strategy for Increasing Transaction Prices
  • Retention Strategy
  • Financial Projections

If you're truly lost on where to start with a marketing plan, I highly recommend using this guide to help you define your target audience, figure out how to reach them, and ensure that audience becomes loyal customers.

2. Social Media Marketing Plan

This type of plan highlights the channels, tactics, and campaigns you intend to accomplish specifically on social media. A specific subtype is a paid marketing plan, which highlights paid strategies, such as native advertising, PPC, or paid social media promotions.

Shane Snow's Marketing Plan for His Book Dream Team is a great example of a social media marketing plan:

Contently's content strategy waterfall.

When Shane Snow started promoting his new book, "Dream Team," he knew he had to leverage a data-driven content strategy framework. So, he chose his favorite one: the content strategy waterfall. The content strategy waterfall is defined by Economic Times as a model used to create a system with a linear and sequential approach.

Snow wrote a blog post about how the waterfall‘s content strategy helped him launch his new book successfully. After reading it, you can use his tactics to inform your own marketing plan. More specifically, you’ll learn how he:

  • Applied his business objectives to decide which marketing metrics to track.
  • Used his ultimate business goal of earning $200,000 in sales or 10,000 purchases to estimate the conversion rate of each stage of his funnel.
  • Created buyer personas to figure out which channels his audience would prefer to consume his content.
  • Used his average post view on each of his marketing channels to estimate how much content he had to create and how often he had to post on social media.
  • Calculated how much earned and paid media could cut down the amount of content he had to create and post.
  • Designed his process and workflow, built his team, and assigned members to tasks.
  • Analyzed content performance metrics to refine his overall content strategy.

I use Snow's marketing plan to think more creatively about my content promotion and distribution plan. I like that it's linear and builds on the step before it, creating an air-tight strategy that doesn't leave any details out.

→ Free Download: Social Media Calendar Template [Access Now]

3. Content Marketing Plan

This plan could highlight different strategies, tactics, and campaigns in which you'll use content to promote your business or product.

HubSpot's Comprehensive Guide for Content Marketing Strategy is a strong example of a content marketing plan:

marketing plan examples: hubspot content marketing plan

At HubSpot, we‘ve built our marketing team from two business school graduates working from a coffee table to a powerhouse of hundreds of employees. Along the way, we’ve learned countless lessons that shaped our current content marketing strategy. So, we decided to illustrate our insights in a blog post to teach marketers how to develop a successful content marketing strategy, regardless of their team's size.

Download Now: Free Content Marketing Planning Templates

In this comprehensive guide for modern marketers, you'll learn:

  • What exactly content marketing is.
  • Why your business needs a content marketing strategy.
  • Who should lead your content marketing efforts?
  • How to structure your content marketing team based on your company's size.
  • How to hire the right people for each role on your team.
  • What marketing tools and technology you'll need to succeed.
  • What type of content your team should create, and which employees should be responsible for creating them.
  • The importance of distributing your content through search engines, social media, email, and paid ads.
  • And finally, the recommended metrics each of your teams should measure and report to optimize your content marketing program.

This is a fantastic resource for content teams of any size — whether you're a team of one or 100. It includes how to hire and structure a content marketing team, what marketing tools you'll need, what type of content you should create, and even recommends what metrics to track for analyzing campaigns. If you're aiming to establish or boost your online presence, leveraging tools like HubSpot's drag-and-drop website builder can be extremely beneficial. It helps you create a captivating digital footprint that sets the foundation for your content marketing endeavors.

4. New Product Launch Marketing Plan

This will be a roadmap for the strategies and tactics you‘ll implement to promote a new product. And if you’re searching for an example, look no further than Chief Outsiders' Go-To-Market Plan for a New Product :

marketing plan examples: chief outsiders

After reading this plan, you'll learn how to:

  • Validate a product
  • Write strategic objectives
  • Identify your market
  • Compile a competitive landscape
  • Create a value proposition for a new product
  • Consider sales and service in your marketing plan

If you're looking for a marketing plan for a new product, the Chief Outsiders template is a great place to start. Marketing plans for a new product will be more specific because they target one product versus its entire marketing strategy.

5. Growth Marketing Plan

Growth marketing plans use experimentation and data to drive results, like we see in Venture Harbour’s Growth Marketing Plan Template :

marketing plan examples: venture harbour

Venture Harbour's growth marketing plan is a data-driven and experiment-led alternative to the more traditional marketing plan. Their template has five steps intended for refinement with every test-measure-learn cycle. The five steps are:

  • Experiments

Download Now: Free Growth Strategy Template

I recommend this plan if you want to experiment with different platforms and campaigns. Experimentation always feels risky and unfamiliar, but this plan creates a framework for accountability and strategy.

  • Louisville Tourism
  • University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
  • Visit Oxnard
  • Safe Haven Family Shelter
  • Wright County Economic Development
  • The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County
  • Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau
  • Visit Billings

1. Louisville Tourism

Louisville Tourism Marketing Plan

It also divides its target market into growth and seed categories to allow for more focused strategies. For example, the plan recognizes Millennials in Chicago, Atlanta, and Nashville as the core of it's growth market, whereas people in Boston, Austin, and New York represent seed markets where potential growth opportunities exist. Then, the plan outlines objectives and tactics for reaching each market.

Why This Marketing Plan Works

  • The plan starts with a letter from the President & CEO of the company, who sets the stage for the plan by providing a high-level preview of the incoming developments for Louisville's tourism industry
  • The focus on Louisville as "Bourbon City" effectively leverages its unique cultural and culinary attributes to present a strong brand
  • Incorporates a variety of data points from Google Analytics, Arrivalist, and visitor profiles to to define their target audience with a data-informed approach

2. University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

University Illinois

For example, students who become prospects as freshman and sophomore will receive emails that focus on getting the most out of high school and college prep classes. Once these students become juniors and seniors — thus entering the consideration stage — the emails will focus more on the college application process and other exploratory content.

  • The plan incorporates competitive analysis, evaluation surveys, and other research to determine the makeup of its target audience
  • The plan lists each marketing program (e.g., direct mail, social media, email etc.) and supplements it with examples on the next page
  • Each marketing program has its own objectives, tactics, and KPIs for measuring success

3. Visit Oxnard

This marketing plan by Visit Oxnard, a convention and visitors bureau, is packed with all the information one needs in a marketing plan: target markets, key performance indicators, selling points, personas, marketing tactics by channel, and much more.

It also articulates the organization’s strategic plans for the upcoming fiscal year, especially as it grapples with the aftereffects of the pandemic. Lastly, it has impeccable visual appeal, with color-coded sections and strong branding elements.

  • States clear and actionable goals for the coming year
  • Includes data and other research that shows how their team made their decisions
  • Outlines how the team will measure the success of their plan

4. Safe Haven Family Shelter

marketing plan examples: safe haven family shelter

This marketing plan by a nonprofit organization is an excellent example to follow if your plan will be presented to internal stakeholders at all levels of your organization. It includes SMART marketing goals , deadlines, action steps, long-term objectives, target audiences, core marketing messages , and metrics.

The plan is detailed, yet scannable. By the end of it, one can walk away with a strong understanding of the organization’s strategic direction for its upcoming marketing efforts.

  • Confirms ongoing marketing strategies and objectives while introducing new initiatives
  • Uses colors, fonts, and formatting to emphasize key parts of the plan
  • Closes with long-term goals, key themes, and other overarching topics to set the stage for the future

5. Wright County Economic Development

marketing plan examples: wright county

Wright County Economic Development’s plan drew our attention because of its simplicity, making it good inspiration for those who’d like to outline their plan in broad strokes without frills or filler.

It includes key information such as marketing partners, goals, initiatives, and costs. The sections are easy to scan and contain plenty of information for those who’d like to dig into the details. Most important, it includes a detailed breakdown of projected costs per marketing initiative — which is critical information to include for upper-level managers and other stakeholders.

  • Begins with a quick paragraph stating why the recommended changes are important
  • Uses clear graphics and bullet points to emphasize key points
  • Includes specific budget data to support decision-making

6. The Cultural Council of Palm Beach County

marketing plan examples: cultural council of palm beach county

This marketing plan presentation by a cultural council is a great example of how to effectively use data in your plan, address audiences who are new to the industry, and offer extensive detail into specific marketing strategies.

For instance, an entire slide is dedicated to the county’s cultural tourism trends, and at the beginning of the presentation, the organization explains what an arts and culture agency is in the first place.

That’s a critical piece of information to include for those who might not know. If you’re addressing audiences outside your industry, consider defining terms at the beginning, like this organization did.

  • Uses quality design and images to support the goals and priorities in the text
  • Separate pages for each big idea or new strategy
  • Includes sections for awards and accomplishments to show how the marketing plan supports wider business goals
  • Defines strategies and tactics for each channel for easy skimming

7. Cabarrus County Convention & Visitors Bureau

marketing plan examples: carrabus county

Cabarrus County’s convention and visitors bureau takes a slightly different approach with its marketing plan, formatting it like a magazine for stakeholders to flip through. It offers information on the county’s target audience, channels, goals, KPIs, and public relations strategies and initiatives.

We especially love that the plan includes contact information for the bureau’s staff members, so that it’s easy for stakeholders to contact the appropriate person for a specific query.

  • Uses infographics to expand on specific concepts, like how visitors benefit a community
  • Highlights the team members responsible for each initiative with a photo to emphasize accountability and community
  • Closes with an event calendar for transparency into key dates for events

8. Visit Billings

marketing plan examples: visit billings

Visit Billing’s comprehensive marketing plan is like Cabarrus County’s in that it follows a magazine format. With sections for each planned strategy, it offers a wealth of information and depth for internal stakeholders and potential investors.

We especially love its content strategy section, where it details the organization’s prior efforts and current objectives for each content platform.

At the end, it includes strategic goals and budgets — a good move to imitate if your primary audience would not need this information highlighted at the forefront.

  • Includes a section on the buyer journey, which offers clarity on the reasoning for marketing plan decisions
  • Design includes call-outs for special topics that could impact the marketing audience, such as safety concerns or "staycations"
  • Clear headings make it easy to scan this comprehensive report and make note of sections a reader may want to return to for more detail

What is a typical marketing plan?

In my experience, most marketing plans outline the following aspects of a business's marketing:

  • Target audience

Each marketing plan should include one or more goals, the path your team will take to meet those goals, and how you plan to measure success.

For example, if I were a tech startup that's launching a new mobile app, my marketing plan would include:

  • Target audience or buyer personas for the app
  • Outline of how app features meet audience needs
  • Competitive analysis
  • Goals for conversion funnel and user acquisition
  • Marketing strategies and tactics for user acquisition

Featured resource : Free Marketing Plan Template

What should a good marketing plan include?

A good marketing plan will create a clear roadmap for your unique marketing team. This means that the best marketing plan for your business will be distinct to your team and business needs.

That said, most marketing plans will include sections for one or more of the following:

  • Clear analysis of the target market
  • A detailed description of the product or service
  • Strategic marketing mix details (such as product, price, place, promotion)
  • Measurable goals with defined timelines

This can help you build the best marketing plan for your business.

A good marketing plan should also include a product or service's unique value proposition, a comprehensive marketing strategy including online and offline channels, and a defined budget.

Featured resource : Value Proposition Templates

What are the most important parts of a marketing plan?

When you‘re planning a road trip, you need a map to help define your route, step-by-step directions, and an estimate of the time it will take to get to your destination. It’s literally how you get there that matters.

Like a road map, a marketing plan is only useful if it helps you get to where you want to go. So, no one part is more than the other.

That said, you can use the list below to make sure that you've added or at least considered each of the following in your marketing plan:

  • Marketing goals
  • Executive summary
  • Target market analysis
  • Marketing strategies

What questions should I ask when making a marketing plan?

Questions are a useful tool for when you‘re stuck or want to make sure you’ve included important details.

Try using one or more of these questions as a starting point when you create your marketing plan:

  • Who is my target audience?
  • What are their needs, motivations, and pain points?
  • How does our product or service solve their problems?
  • How will I reach and engage them?
  • Who are my competitors? Are they direct or indirect competitors?
  • What are the unique selling points of my product or service?
  • What marketing channels are best for the brand?
  • What is our budget and timeline?
  • How will I measure the success of marketing efforts?

How much does a marketing plan cost?

Creating a marketing plan is mostly free. But the cost of executing a marketing plan will depend on your specific plan.

Marketing plan costs vary by business, industry, and plan scope. Whether your team handles marketing in-house or hires external consultants can also make a difference. Total costs can range from a few thousand dollars to tens of thousands. This is why most marketing plans will include a budget.

Featured resource : Free Marketing Budget Templates

What is a marketing plan template?

A marketing plan template is a pre-designed structure or framework that helps you outline your marketing plan.

It offers a starting point that you can customize for your specific business needs and goals. For example, our template includes easy-to-edit sections for:

  • Business summary
  • Business initiatives
  • Target market
  • Market strategy
  • Marketing channels
  • Marketing technology

Let’s create a sample plan together, step by step.

Follow along with HubSpot's free Marketing Plan Template .

HubSpot Mktg plan cover

1. Create an overview or primary objective.

Our business mission is to provide [service, product, solution] to help [audience] reach their [financial, educational, business related] goals without compromising their [your audience’s valuable asset: free time, mental health, budget, etc.]. We want to improve our social media presence while nurturing our relationships with collaborators and clients.

For example, if I wanted to focus on social media growth, my KPIs might look like this:

We want to achieve a minimum of [followers] with an engagement rate of [X] on [social media platform].

The goal is to achieve an increase of [Y] on recurring clients and new meaningful connections outside the platform by the end of the year.

Use the following categories to create a target audience for your campaign.

  • Profession:
  • Background:
  • Pain points:
  • Social media platforms that they use:
  • Streaming platforms that they prefer:

For more useful strategies, consider creating a buyer persona in our Make My Persona tool .

Our content pillars will be: [X, Y, Z].

Content pillars should be based on topics your audience needs to know. If your ideal clients are female entrepreneurs, then your content pillars can be: marketing, being a woman in business, remote working, and productivity hacks for entrepreneurs.

Then, determine any omissions.

This marketing plan won’t be focusing on the following areas of improvement: [A, B, C].

5. Define your marketing budget.

Our marketing strategy will use a total of [Y] monthly. This will include anything from freelance collaborations to advertising.

6. Identify your competitors.

I like to work through the following questions to clearly indicate who my competitors are:

  • Which platforms do they use the most?
  • How does their branding differentiate?
  • How do they talk to their audiences?
  • What valuable assets do customers talk about? And if they are receiving any negative feedback, what is it about?

7. Outline your plan's contributors and their responsibilities.

Create responsible parties for each portion of the plan.

Marketing will manage the content plan, implementation, and community interaction to reach the KPIs.

  • Social media manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Content strategist: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Community manager: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Sales will follow the line of the marketing work while creating and implementing an outreach strategy.

  • Sales strategists: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]
  • Sales executives: [hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations]

Customer Service will nurture clients’ relationships to ensure that they have what they want. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Project Managers will track the progress and team communication during the project. [Hours per week dedicated to the project, responsibilities, team communication requirements, expectations].

Get started on your marketing plan.

These marketing plans serve as initial resources to get your content marketing plan started. But, to truly deliver what your audience wants and needs, you'll likely need to test some different ideas out, measure their success, and then refine your goals as you go.

Editor's Note: This post was originally published in April 2019, but was updated for comprehensiveness. This article was written by a human, but our team uses AI in our editorial process. Check out our full disclosure t o learn more about how we use AI.

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Here is a free business plan sample for a fruit and vegetable store.

fruit and vegetable market profitability

Have you ever envisioned owning a bustling fruit and vegetable market that serves as a cornerstone of health in your community? Wondering where to start?

Look no further, as we're about to guide you through a comprehensive business plan tailored for a fruit and vegetable market.

Creating a solid business plan is crucial for any aspiring entrepreneur. It serves as a roadmap, outlining your vision, objectives, and the strategies you'll employ to turn your fresh produce venture into a thriving business.

To jumpstart your planning process with ease and precision, feel free to utilize our fruit and vegetable market business plan template. Our team of experts is also on standby to provide a free review and fine-tuning of your plan.

business plan produce market

How to draft a great business plan for your fruit and vegetable store?

A good business plan for a fruit and vegetable market must cater to the unique aspects of this type of retail business.

Initially, it's crucial to provide a comprehensive overview of the market landscape. This includes up-to-date statistics and an exploration of emerging trends within the industry, similar to what we've incorporated in our fruit and vegetable market business plan template .

Your business plan should articulate your vision clearly. Define your target demographic (such as local residents, restaurants, or health-conscious consumers) and establish your market's distinctive features (like offering organic produce, exotic fruits, or locally-sourced vegetables).

Market analysis is the next critical component. This requires a thorough examination of local competitors, market dynamics, and consumer buying patterns.

For a fruit and vegetable market, it's imperative to detail the range of products you intend to sell. Describe your selection of fruits, vegetables, herbs, and any additional items you plan to offer, and discuss how these choices align with the preferences and needs of your customer base.

The operational plan is equally important. It should outline the location of your market, the layout of the retail space, your supply chain for fresh produce, and inventory management practices.

Given the nature of a fruit and vegetable market, it is vital to highlight the freshness and quality of your produce, your relationships with growers and suppliers, and adherence to health and safety standards.

Then, delve into your marketing and sales strategies. How do you plan to attract and keep customers coming back? Consider your approach to promotions, customer loyalty programs, and potential value-added services (like home delivery or a juice bar).

Incorporating digital strategies, such as an online ordering system or a robust social media presence, is also crucial in the modern marketplace.

The financial section is another cornerstone of your business plan. It should encompass the initial investment, projected sales, operating expenses, and the point at which you expect to break even.

With a fruit and vegetable market, managing waste and understanding the shelf life of products are critical, so precise planning and knowledge of your financials are essential. For assistance, consider using our financial forecast for a fruit and vegetable market .

Compared to other business plans, a fruit and vegetable market plan must pay closer attention to the perishability of inventory, the importance of a robust supply chain, and the potential for seasonal fluctuations.

A well-crafted business plan not only helps you to define your strategies and vision but also plays a pivotal role in attracting investors or securing loans.

Lenders and investors are keen on a solid market analysis, realistic financial projections, and a comprehensive understanding of the day-to-day operations of a fruit and vegetable market.

By presenting a thorough and substantiated plan, you showcase your dedication and readiness for the success of your venture.

To achieve these goals while saving time, you are welcome to fill out our fruit and vegetable market business plan template .

business plan fruit and vegetable store

A free example of business plan for a fruit and vegetable store

Here, we will provide a concise and illustrative example of a business plan for a specific project.

This example aims to provide an overview of the essential components of a business plan. It is important to note that this version is only a summary. As it stands, this business plan is not sufficiently developed to support a profitability strategy or convince a bank to provide financing.

To be effective, the business plan should be significantly more detailed, including up-to-date market data, more persuasive arguments, a thorough market study, a three-year action plan, as well as detailed financial tables such as a projected income statement, projected balance sheet, cash flow budget, and break-even analysis.

All these elements have been thoroughly included by our experts in the business plan template they have designed for a fruit and vegetable market .

Here, we will follow the same structure as in our business plan template.

business plan fruit and vegetable store

Market Opportunity

Market data and figures.

The fruit and vegetable market is an essential and robust component of the global food industry.

Recent estimates value the global fruit and vegetable trade at over 1 trillion dollars, with expectations for continued growth as consumers seek healthier eating options. In the United States, the fruit and vegetable industry contributes significantly to the economy, with thousands of markets and stores providing a wide range of produce to meet consumer demand.

These statistics underscore the critical role that fruit and vegetable markets play in not only providing nutritious food options but also in supporting local agriculture and economies.

Current trends in the fruit and vegetable industry indicate a shift towards organic and locally sourced produce, as consumers become more health-conscious and environmentally aware.

There is an increasing demand for organic fruits and vegetables, driven by the perception of better quality and concerns about pesticides and other chemicals. The local food movement is also gaining momentum, with consumers showing a preference for produce that is grown locally to support community farmers and reduce carbon emissions associated with transportation.

Technological advancements are influencing the industry as well, with innovations in vertical farming and hydroponics allowing for more sustainable and space-efficient growing methods.

Online grocery shopping and delivery services are expanding, making it easier for consumers to access fresh produce directly from their homes.

Additionally, the push for transparency in food sourcing continues to grow, with consumers wanting to know more about where their food comes from and how it is grown.

These trends are shaping the future of the fruit and vegetable market, as businesses strive to meet the evolving preferences and values of modern consumers.

Success Factors

Several key factors contribute to the success of a fruit and vegetable market.

Quality and freshness of produce are paramount. Markets that offer a wide variety of fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables are more likely to build and maintain a dedicated customer base.

Diversity in product offerings, including exotic or hard-to-find produce, can differentiate a market from its competitors.

Location is also vital, as markets that are easily accessible to consumers will naturally attract more foot traffic.

Customer service is another important aspect, with knowledgeable and friendly staff enhancing the shopping experience and encouraging repeat visits.

Effective cost management and the ability to adapt to changing consumer trends, such as the demand for organic and locally grown produce, are crucial for the long-term viability of a fruit and vegetable market.

The Project

Project presentation.

Our fruit and vegetable market project is designed to cater to the increasing consumer demand for fresh, organic, and locally-sourced produce. Situated in a community-focused neighborhood, our market will offer a diverse selection of fruits and vegetables, emphasizing seasonal and organic options. We will partner with local farmers and suppliers to ensure that our customers have access to the freshest produce available, supporting sustainable agricultural practices and reducing our carbon footprint.

We aim to provide not just produce, but a holistic healthy eating experience by offering a range of complementary products such as herbs, spices, and artisanal condiments. Our market will be a hub for health-conscious consumers and those interested in cooking with the finest ingredients.

Our fruit and vegetable market is set to become a cornerstone in the community, promoting healthier lifestyles and fostering connections between local producers and consumers.

Value Proposition

The value proposition of our fruit and vegetable market lies in our commitment to providing the community with the highest quality fresh produce. We understand the importance of nutrition and the role that fruits and vegetables play in maintaining a healthy diet.

Our market will offer a unique shopping experience where customers can enjoy a wide variety of produce, learn about the benefits of incorporating more fruits and vegetables into their diets, and discover new and exotic varieties. We are dedicated to creating a welcoming environment where everyone can find something to enrich their meals and support their well-being.

By focusing on local and organic sourcing, we also contribute to the sustainability of our food systems and the prosperity of local farmers, aligning our business with the values of environmental stewardship and community support.

Project Owner

The project owner is an individual with a profound passion for healthy living and community engagement. With a background in agricultural studies and experience in the food retail industry, they are well-equipped to establish a market that prioritizes quality and freshness.

They bring a wealth of knowledge about the seasonality and sourcing of produce, and are committed to creating a marketplace that reflects the diversity and richness of nature's offerings. Their dedication to health, nutrition, and sustainability drives them to build a market that not only sells fruits and vegetables but also educates and inspires the community to embrace a healthier, more sustainable lifestyle.

Their vision is to create a space where the joy of fresh, wholesome food is accessible to all, and where the market serves as a vibrant gathering place for people to connect with their food and each other.

The Market Study

Market segments.

The market segments for this fruit and vegetable market are diverse and cater to a wide range of consumers.

Firstly, there are health-conscious individuals who prioritize fresh, organic produce in their diets for wellness and nutritional benefits.

Secondly, the market serves customers who are looking for locally-sourced and seasonal produce to support community farmers and reduce their carbon footprint.

Additionally, the market attracts individuals with specific dietary needs, such as vegans, vegetarians, and those with food sensitivities who require a variety of fresh produce options.

Culinary professionals, including chefs and caterers, represent another segment, seeking high-quality ingredients to enhance their dishes.

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis of the fruit and vegetable market project highlights several key factors.

Strengths include a strong focus on fresh, high-quality produce, relationships with local farmers, and a commitment to sustainability and eco-friendly practices.

Weaknesses might involve the perishable nature of inventory, the need for constant supply chain management, and potential seasonal fluctuations in product availability.

Opportunities exist in expanding the market's reach through online sales and delivery services, as well as in educating consumers about the benefits of eating fresh and local produce.

Threats could include competition from larger grocery chains with more buying power, adverse weather affecting crop yields, and potential economic downturns reducing consumer spending on premium produce.

Competitor Analysis

Competitor analysis in the fruit and vegetable market sector indicates a varied landscape.

Direct competitors include other local markets, organic food stores, and large supermarkets with extensive produce sections.

These competitors vie for customers who value convenience, variety, and price.

Potential competitive advantages for our market include superior product freshness, strong community ties, exceptional customer service, and a focus on sustainable and ethical sourcing.

Understanding the strengths and weaknesses of these competitors is crucial for carving out a niche and ensuring customer loyalty.

Competitive Advantages

Our fruit and vegetable market's dedication to offering the freshest and highest quality produce sets us apart from the competition.

We provide a wide array of fruits and vegetables, including rare and exotic items, to cater to the diverse tastes and needs of our customers.

Our commitment to sustainability, through supporting local farmers and minimizing waste, resonates with environmentally conscious consumers.

We also emphasize transparency and education about the source and benefits of our produce, fostering a trusting relationship with our clientele.

You can also read our articles about: - how to open a fruit and vegetable store: a complete guide - the customer segments of a fruit and vegetable store - the competition study for a fruit and vegetable store

The Strategy

Development plan.

Our three-year development plan for the fresh fruit and vegetable market is designed to promote healthy living within the community.

In the first year, our goal is to establish a strong local presence by sourcing a wide variety of high-quality, seasonal produce and building relationships with local farmers and suppliers.

The second year will focus on expanding our reach by setting up additional market locations and possibly introducing mobile market services to access a broader customer base.

In the third year, we plan to diversify our offerings by including organic and exotic fruits and vegetables, as well as implementing educational programs on nutrition and sustainable agriculture.

Throughout this period, we will be committed to sustainability, community engagement, and providing exceptional service to ensure we become a staple in our customers' healthy lifestyles.

Business Model Canvas

The Business Model Canvas for our fruit and vegetable market targets health-conscious consumers and those looking for fresh, local produce.

Our value proposition is centered on offering the freshest, high-quality fruits and vegetables, with a focus on local and organic options, and providing exceptional customer service.

We will sell our products through our physical market locations and consider an online ordering system for customer convenience, utilizing our key resources such as our relationships with local farmers and our knowledgeable staff.

Key activities include sourcing and curating produce, maintaining quality control, and engaging with the community.

Our revenue streams will be generated from the sales of produce, while our costs will be associated with procurement, operations, and marketing efforts.

Access a complete and editable real Business Model Canvas in our business plan template .

Marketing Strategy

Our marketing strategy is centered on community engagement and education.

We aim to highlight the health benefits of fresh produce and the environmental advantages of buying locally. Our approach includes community events, cooking demonstrations, and partnerships with local health and wellness organizations.

We will also leverage social media to showcase our daily offerings, share tips on healthy eating, and feature stories from our partner farmers.

Additionally, we plan to offer loyalty programs and seasonal promotions to encourage repeat business and attract new customers.

Risk Policy

The risk policy for our fruit and vegetable market focuses on mitigating risks associated with perishable goods, supply chain management, and market fluctuations.

We will implement strict quality control measures and develop a robust inventory management system to minimize waste and ensure product freshness.

Building strong relationships with a diverse group of suppliers will help us manage supply risks and price volatility.

We will also maintain a conservative financial strategy to manage operational costs effectively and ensure business sustainability.

Insurance coverage will be in place to protect against unforeseen events that could impact our business operations.

Why Our Project is Viable

We believe in the viability of a fruit and vegetable market that prioritizes freshness, quality, and community health.

With a growing trend towards healthy eating and local sourcing, our market is well-positioned to meet consumer demand.

We are committed to creating a shopping experience that supports local agriculture and provides educational value to our customers.

Adaptable to market trends and customer feedback, we are excited about the potential of our fruit and vegetable market to become a cornerstone of healthy living in our community.

You can also read our articles about: - the Business Model Canvas of a fruit and vegetable store - the marketing strategy for a fruit and vegetable store

The Financial Plan

Of course, the text presented below is far from sufficient to serve as a solid and credible financial analysis for a bank or potential investor. They expect specific numbers, financial statements, and charts demonstrating the profitability of your project.

All these elements are available in our business plan template for a fruit and vegetable market and our financial plan for a fruit and vegetable market .

Initial expenses for our fruit and vegetable market include costs for securing a retail space in a high-traffic area, purchasing refrigeration units and display equipment to maintain and showcase fresh produce, obtaining necessary permits and licenses, investing in a robust inventory management system, and launching marketing initiatives to attract customers to our location.

Our revenue assumptions are based on an in-depth analysis of the local market demand for fresh, high-quality fruits and vegetables, taking into account the increasing trend towards healthy eating and organic produce.

We expect sales to grow steadily as we establish our market's reputation for offering a wide variety of fresh and locally sourced produce.

The projected income statement outlines expected revenues from the sale of fruits and vegetables, cost of goods sold (including procurement, transportation, and storage), and operating expenses (rent, marketing, salaries, utilities, etc.).

This results in a forecasted net profit that is essential for assessing the long-term viability of our fruit and vegetable market.

The projected balance sheet will reflect assets such as refrigeration and display equipment, inventory of fresh produce, and liabilities including any loans and operational expenses.

It will provide a snapshot of the financial condition of our market at the end of each fiscal period.

Our projected cash flow statement will detail all cash inflows from sales and outflows for expenses, helping us to predict our financial needs and ensure we have sufficient funds to operate smoothly.

The projected financing plan will outline the sources of funding we intend to tap into to cover our initial setup costs and any additional financing needs.

The working capital requirement for our market will be carefully managed to maintain adequate liquidity for day-to-day operations, such as purchasing fresh stock, managing inventory, and covering staff wages.

The break-even analysis will determine the volume of sales we need to achieve to cover all our costs and begin generating a profit, marking the point at which our market becomes financially sustainable.

Key performance indicators we will monitor include the turnover rate of our inventory, the gross margin on produce sales, the current ratio to evaluate our ability to meet short-term obligations, and the return on investment to gauge the profitability of the capital invested in our market.

These metrics will be instrumental in assessing the financial performance and overall success of our fruit and vegetable market.

If you want to know more about the financial analysis of this type of activity, please read our article about the financial plan for a fruit and vegetable store .

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Free Marketing Plan Examples: Real-World Samples & Templates

By Joe Weller | April 27, 2024

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A  marketing plan  is a comprehensive document that outlines a company’s marketing strategy and tactics, and ensures that its marketing goals align with its overall objectives. Effective marketing plans include detailed analysis of the market along with roadmaps for upcoming campaigns. Inside this article, you’ll find the  elements of a marketing plan , 10 real-world examples of marketing plans with commentary from experienced marketing professionals, free marketing plan templates and samples , and a  chart to help you determine which template suits your needs .

Marketing Plan Elements

Typical marketing plans begin with an executive summary and include audience demographics, company objectives, situational analysis of the business, and marketing strategies and tactics. Market research and analysis provide campaign direction, and the budget and timeline offer practical parameters. A marketing plan can provide an overview of all strategies and campaigns to be executed in a certain time frame, or it can focus on a specific product, channel, or strategy. The level of detail and the sections included might vary, depending on the organization’s needs. The nine main elements of a marketing plan are:  

Executive Summary and Mission Statement:  A concise, high-level summary conveys the purpose of your marketing plan, introduces key strategies and research insights, and highlights the most important takeaways for stakeholders. For example, an executive summary might outline your brand’s identity, its place within the competitive landscape, and the major opportunities that upcoming marketing campaigns will target. Longer plans might include a separate mission statement or vision statement to align marketing efforts with your company’s larger goals. Discover more  examples of executive summaries with templates to help you write one effectively.  

Single Slide Executive Summary Example Template

Situational Analysis:  One of the most crucial elements of your marketing plan, a situational analysis is an assessment of the internal and external factors affecting a business’s performance. It should include research-based insights into market trends and dynamics, customer demographics and pain points, and internal resources.  A strong situational analysis often includes a SWOT (strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats) analysis, which provides a foundation for an effective marketing strategy. Learn more about  how to perform a SWOT analysis .  

Competitive Analysis:  Understanding the competition is key to developing a compelling marketing plan. This analysis should consider recent marketing campaigns from similar brands to identify successful ways to reach a shared target audience. Being aware of the competitive landscape can also help your business develop a unique selling proposition and stand out in the market. The competitive analysis might be included in the larger situational analysis, or it might be a stand-alone section. For example, a marketing plan could include data on how competitors rank on keywords, or it could evaluate the performance of competitors’ recent social media campaigns. One common framework for understanding market dynamics is a Porter’s five forces analysis, which identifies the forces that contribute to industry rivals. Learn how to evaluate the competitive landscape with  free industry analysis templates .  

Porter’s Five Forces Model Example Template

Target Audience: In order to implement marketing strategies that engage consumers and drive conversions, businesses need to know who their audience is, what they want, and how they behave. A marketing plan should define a specific, segmented target audience with demographic, geographical, psychographic, and behavioral data.  This section often includes customer profiles or buyer personas — fictionalized representations of ideal customers or audience segments — which help marketers typify consumer behaviors. These profiles should include media habits and most-used platforms to ensure that your marketing plan selects the right channels for each campaign. Learn how to analyze your target market with  free customer profile templates .  

Simple Customer Profile Presentation Template

Goals and Objectives:  Marketing plans typically include both long-term goals, which provide broad direction for the company’s marketing strategy, and short-term objectives, which focus on more immediate tactics and campaigns. Goals should be SMART (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, time-bound) and include corresponding key performance indicators (KPIs).  The goals and objectives in a marketing plan often focus on conversions, market share, brand awareness, or engagement. Clearly defined goals ensure strategically aligned marketing initiatives with measurable results. Take a look at  real-world examples of SMART goals for more insights.  

SMART Goals Worksheet Template with Sample Text

Marketing Strategy:  This section of a marketing plan details the business’s unique value proposition and the channels that will communicate it. A robust marketing strategy addresses the touchpoints in a consumer’s buying cycle and breaks down the 4 Ps (product, price, place, promotion) of the marketing mix. Channels might include digital marketing, advertisements, social media, and influencer partnerships. To develop an overarching marketing strategy, consider using a  marketing strategy template . To learn more about the 4 Ps, read this  product marketing guide .  

Marketing Strategy Example Template

Tactics and Action Plan:  A marketing plan is not an abstract strategy document, but a concrete roadmap for executing specific campaigns with specific tactics. Your plan should detail the messaging for each campaign and the corresponding methods for communication — such as email newsletters, social content, targeted ads, and public relations.  This section provides KPIs and actionable steps such as resource allocation, deliverables, and distribution plans. It might also include the expected outcome for each campaign. To plan individual campaigns, consider using a  marketing project plan template .  

Marketing Project Plan Template

Budget:  Marketing expenses might include the cost of advertising, content creation, website maintenance, or promotional materials; no marketing plan is complete without a budget that breaks down the costs of such initiatives. A clear, comprehensive budget ensures that marketing efforts are financially feasible and resources can be allocated for maximum impact. The budget also enables the marketing team to track the return on investment (ROI) of each campaign. To create a comprehensive budget, try our  free marketing budget templates .    

Marketing Budget Plan Template

Timeline:  Finally, a marketing plan includes a clear schedule for implementing its initiatives and tactics. This timeline details the start and end dates of each campaign, deadlines for deliverables, and key events or milestones. It keeps the marketing team aligned and initiatives on track, ensuring that marketing objectives can be achieved within the set time frame. Organize dates and deadlines with the help of a  marketing timeline template .  

Marketing Timeline Template

Marketing Plan Examples

Real-world marketing plans show how businesses utilize effective planning documents. These 10 examples from various industries exhibit unique strengths and weaknesses. With insightful commentary from marketing experts, these plans offer practical takeaways any marketer can use.  

Delmarva and the Ground for Change This  in-depth marketing plan for a documentary produced by the USDA Northeast Climate Hub includes audience profiles, competitive analysis, and a distribution plan. Along with a detailed breakdown of its digital marketing strategy, it considers how different tactics will affect the viewer’s content journey.   

Delmarva Marketing Plan

John Dinsmore , a marketing consultant and professor at Wright State University, praises this plan for its attractive design and thoughtful, thorough content: “They do a nice job of extrapolating on who the target market is and tying their tactics to achieving specific goals.”  He appreciates the inclusion of a SWOT analysis, but feels it could be done more effectively. “‘Opportunities’ is not a place for business ideas. It’s a place to identify external, positive trends that can help your initiative. In this context, an opportunity could be ‘Rising concern for and awareness of climate issues.’ Similarly, ‘threats’ is not a place to list things that are difficult. It’s for negative external trends such as ‘Increased skepticism over ability to combat climate change.’” 

Dekker Fraser

Dekker Fraser , former Global Marketing Manager at Sony PlayStation, adds that this plan includes a strong focus on collaborations with media and influencers: “Many marketing plans place too much emphasis on target customers and not enough on target collaborators.”  

Minnesota Tourism This  marketing plan by Explore Minnesota , the state’s Department of Tourism, showcases Minnesota’s beauty with vivid imagery. It uses a variety of demographic information to identify priority audience segments and includes well-designed infographics that analyze audience and competition. As a result, the campaigns are clearly targeted at specific audiences and objectives. 

John Rarrick

John Rarrick , Head of Marketing at Movius Corp., admires the strength of the message behind the strategy. “This plan has a very well-developed ‘why,’” he says. “You’ll see that often when the plan is to repair or save something that has undergone a time of great loss — such as a loss of revenue or reputation. The audience personas, goals, tactics, and budget are all detailed and measurable.” 

Minnesota Marketing Plan

Gold Coast Transit District  

Gold Coast Marketing Plan

A  short, high-level marketing plan for Gold Coast Transit highlights key campaigns and includes the most important details, such as timelines, budgets, and tactics. It begins with a bulleted overview of the most important takeaways and takes into account general marketing efforts that don’t fit under a specific campaign umbrella. Fraser notes that this plan includes year-round marketing initiatives, with an effective “emphasis on strong offers, such as youth-free fares.” However, he points out that its brand awareness goals could be more specific. “Instead, use context-specific awareness goals such as ‘When commuting to work, residents first think of Gold Coast Transit’ or ‘When coming home from the library at night, I think of taking the bus,’” he says. “In other words, peg awareness to specific category-entry points.”  

University of Arizona College of Engineering This  marketing, branding, and communications plan for the University of Arizona College of Engineering sets out a long-term vision, high-level goals, and strategies for achieving these goals. It has a section for methodology — including promotional videos and email newsletters — and segments its audience to align with its strategies. This plan “demonstrates a clearly defined audience,” according to Rarrick. That said, not every section of the plan includes the same level of specificity. “The KPIs are vague,” he adds. “I would expect to see something more measurable, rather than ‘increase’ or ‘improve.’” 

Arizona Marketing Plan

Timberland Regional Library This  library's two-year marketing plan sets initiatives in motion with a clear schedule for action. It includes both promotional and production calendars for effective planning, which is especially important for campaigns pegged to external events.  Dinsmore cites this plan’s “professional and elegant graphic design” as a strength. It also offers a roadmap for tackling several marketing campaigns on different timelines. However, he suggests that the plan needs more measurable goals and defined strategies. “There’s no overarching strategy that ties all of these tactics and initiatives together,” he says. “It’s just a laundry list of dates and actions.” 

Library Marketing Plan

Safe Haven Family Shelter Nonprofit organizations need creative marketing strategies to reach their targets and use funds efficiently. With specific objectives and actionable steps, this  marketing plan for Safe Haven Family Shelter delineates high-level goals and details the path to achieving them. It identifies the roles and responsibilities of individual team members to ensure alignment. Rarrick commends this plan for its “clearly defined audience and very clearly defined goals.” The plan showcases the differences between strategic business goals and measurable marketing objectives.  

Safe Haven Marketing Plan

Visit Myrtle Beach This  destination marketing plan by the Myrtle Beach, South Carolina Chamber of Commerce  incorporates detailed information about target markets, audience personas, and key behaviors. It includes an infographic that illuminates the touchpoints in a traveler’s journey and shows the marketing team how each tactic contributes to conversions.  Overall, Dinsmore praises this plan as a “very smart and thoughtful presentation.” It outlines a distinct media mix for each target audience, defines its objectives clearly, and ties these objectives to success metrics. He continues, “I want to thank the Myrtle Beach folks for planning to measure their efforts. Measurement is often anathema to marketing people, but if you’re not measuring, you don’t know how to improve.”  With so much information to cover, the plan would benefit from an executive summary to introduce key takeaways. “The bigger the scope, the harder it is to make everything feel connected, and that’s a bit of an issue with this plan,” Dinsmore adds.  

Myrtle Beach Marketing Plan

Tropical Avocados This  example of a no-frills plan was commissioned by the nonprofit Improving Economies for Stronger Communities (IESC) to help brand and launch tropical avocados in the U.S. market. It shows the importance of making branding decisions backed by market and consumer research. A detailed SWOT analysis and competitive analysis provide essential insights that enable the company to determine the best unique selling proposition.  A key strength of this plan is its detailed research into its audience. Fraser cites its “excellent identification of consumer objections — e.g., concern over how natural the avocado size is — and consumer behavior.” As a result, the brand can adopt effective messaging in its marketing campaigns. As with USDA Northeast Climate Hub’s Delmarva and the Ground for Change documentary, “target collaborators — e.g., food writers, organizations, and chefs — are included in the target audience. Collaborators are often more critical to the marketing plan than the consumers themselves,” Fraser adds.  

Avocados Marketing Plan

Rochelle Community Hospital This  case study of Rochelle Community Hospital in Rochelle, Illinois, shows how a targeted marketing plan can be used to achieve significant results. The report by Legato Healthcare Marketing showcases the importance of reevaluating an existing marketing strategy — in this case, shifting the emphasis from print to digital. External marketing agencies often have more tools at their disposal, particularly if the business has not had a strong digital presence. With targeted ads and website updates, the agency employed tactics with direct metrics in order to track its impact.   

Rochelle Hospital Marketing Plan

Visit Concord This  example from the Concord Tourism Improvement District marketing plan is concise and includes streamlined insights on the audience and market. It details each marketing channel with specific tactics and measurable KPIs.  The overall strategy, according to Fraser, offers “an excellent emphasis on social proof and word-of-mouth marketing,” as well as a “good balance of awareness and activation marketing.” In order to improve, he suggests, “the plan should factor in the following critical quantitative factors to help drive the media strategy: reach, frequency, and the total-addressable market.” 

Concord Marketing Plan

Marketing Plan Templates

Using a template takes the guesswork out of organizing a marketing plan document. These customizable templates include essential elements and options for specific industries or marketing channels, and they range from one-page plans to comprehensive, presentation-ready reports.

Microsoft Word Simple Marketing Plan Template

Simple Marketing Plan Sample

Download the Simple Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Simple Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example of a simple, customizable plan focuses on key strategies and prioritizes readability. This one-page marketing plan template includes space to summarize marketing strategy and overarching business objectives, along with an action plan to highlight responsibilities and deadlines.

Microsoft Word Annual Marketing Plan Template

Annual Marketing Plan Example

Download the Annual Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Annual Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word  

This comprehensive marketing plan template includes a number of key sections — such as goals, target market, marketing channels, and performance standards — that can be customized to suit a variety of businesses. In the situational analysis, you can find space for both a 5C (company, collaborators, customers, competitors, climate) analysis and a SWOT analysis. The blank template begins with a table of contents, a business summary, and a mission statement to allow for easy readability. The sample focuses on marketing strategies for one fiscal year, but you can modify this plan for any time period. 

Microsoft Word Small Business Marketing Plan Template

Small Business Marketing Plan Example

Download the Small Business Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Small Business Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

A strong marketing plan is essential for small businesses looking to stand out from larger competitors. This small business marketing plan template provides an outline for a detailed marketing strategy, including a unique selling proposition, the 4Ps marketing mix, and marketing channels. It builds its strategy on situational analysis and identification of the business’s core capabilities. Find  more marketing plan templates  for different industries.

Microsoft Word Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template

NonProfit Marketing Plan Example

Download the Nonprofit Marketing Plan Example Template for Microsoft Word Download the Blank Nonprofit Marketing Plan Template for Microsoft Word

This example marketing plan for a nonprofit incorporates information on the funding climate into its situational analysis, as well as a detailed organizational summary. With sections for short- and long-term goals, marketing strategies and channels, and stakeholder profiles, the template is comprehensive and customizable. Find  more nonprofit marketing plan templates here .

Excel Product Marketing Plan Template

Product Marketing Plan Example

Download the Product Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Product Marketing Plan Template for Excel

When integrating a new product into existing marketing strategies, it’s important to take into account all the elements of the marketing mix. This product marketing plan template is organized by product, price, place, promotion, process, people, and physical evidence. In these sections, you can find space to consider market research, consumer behaviors, and marketing channels.

Excel Social Media Marketing Plan Template

Social Media Marketing Action Plan Example

Download the Social Media Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Social Media Marketing Plan Template for Excel

For planning specific campaigns, this social media marketing action plan template begins with the campaign goal, highlights important promo dates, and separates actions by platform. It’s useful for executing targeted social media campaigns within a larger marketing strategy. Find  more marketing action plan templates here .

Excel Digital Marketing Plan Template

Digital Marketing Plan Example

Download the Digital Marketing Plan Example Template for Excel Download the Blank Digital Marketing Plan Template for Excel

Focusing on digital marketing channels is an effective way to organize strategies into a streamlined and actionable plan. This strategic digital marketing template highlights important audience behaviors and access channels to ensure messaging reaches consumers. Customizable for a variety of digital marketing projects, the template includes space for keywords, goals, and tasks. Find  more digital marketing plan templates here .

Which Marketing Plan Format Is Right for You?

To choose the right marketing plan format for your needs, consider the plan’s role in your marketing strategy. Do you need a comprehensive plan to provide an overview of tactics that will take place over a long period of time? Or are you looking for a plan to focus on specific channels, campaigns, or product launches? 

Each template in this article offers space to detail market research, strategies, and access channels. The longer plans include more sections for in-depth situational analysis and audience demographics, while the shorter plans focus on the marketing mix and action plan. This chart highlights the key elements of each marketing plan:  

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Examples

Branding Plan

merchandising business plan sample

As a company that wants to continuously thrive, you need to make sure you find good and effective ways to market the products and/or services of your company. With that in mind, you need to immediately plan out the steps you need to take in order to have a successful market and sell what your company offers. Making a plan as to what you need to do will set attainable goals and help you keep track of your progress so far. Furthermore, it will also help you make sure you do precisely what steps are needed in order to achieve your goals.

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Brand strategic plan template.

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Branding Master Plan Example

Branding Master Plan Example

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Personal Brand Plan Template Example

Personal Brand Plan Template Example

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Brand Plan Outline Example

Brand Plan Outline Example

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Brand Planning Guide Example

Brand Planning Guide Example

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Brand Development Framework Example

Brand Development Framework Example

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Brand South Africa Business Plan Example

Brand South Africa Business Plan Example

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Branding Plan Map Example

Branding Plan Map Example

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Regional Positioning/Branding Plan Example

Regional Positioning Branding Plan Example

Size: 79 KB

Spring Water Branding Plan Example

Spring Water Branding Plan Example

Size: 55 KB

Branding and Marketing Plan Example

Branding and Marketing Plan Example

Size: 87 KB

Aside from that, you need to make sure you establish your brand to your target demographic and make it known to potential customers. As you continue to make sure your business survives, making sure your brand becomes easy to recognize and well-known to the customers is essential to the process. With that in mind, a plan is important and helpful in advertising and keeping your brand alive. This article will help you plan for your brand as well as other important matters you should remember when you want to push your brand further.

branding plan

What Is a Brand/Branding Plan?

As mentioned earlier, in order to ensure the survival of the company, it is important to assert and advertise your brand anywhere and anytime possible. However, you still need to choose specific strategies to use in doing so; otherwise, your effort will be futile. You need to have a thorough plan outlining which specific strategies should be done when so that it will be easier for you to execute them as well as measure your progress.

With that in mind, a brand or branding plan is a document that contains the strategies and tactics the company will use to do the direction they want to go for their brand as well as achieve the goals they have set. The brand plan is basically an umbrella that which encapsulates the marketing sales and product development plans . It puts into details what each aspect needs to perform in order to help the brand at the same time setting objectives that operations and finance need to support.

It is basically a plan that helps you utilize your brand’s limited resources to drive the biggest return. In this sense, a branding plan is a significant document that holds steps, actions, and procedures needed to accomplish in order to ensure the success of the brand. And since the brand is the most valuable asset of the company, a branding plan aligns, steers, and inspires all other functional areas of the company. Through this plan, the company has a guide on what steps to take, how and what the areas are supposed to do in order to support the branding efforts.

Elements of a Brand Plan

In order to make determine which strategies should be prioritized, you need to have a clear understanding of what you need in order to set and achieve the goals and objectives of the brand. Afterward, you can immediately start planning for the brand; this is when you start drafting a brand plan. However, it is important to remember that there are important aspects you need cover in your brand plan in order for it to be effective. With that, here are some of the most important elements of a brand plan you need to include:

1. Situation Analysis

A situational review is a deep-dive business review assessing where you currently are in the business or industry. In order to have an effective situational analysis you have to look at factors connected to your business such as the category, consumer, competitors, channels, and the brand. You have to determine what is driving your business as well as what is preventing you from fulfilling it. You also need to include the risks that may arise and the opportunities that has still to be tapped into.

2. Key Issues

After a summary is made from the situation analysis, you can determine what issues you are facing or about to face. With this in mind, key issues are basically the inhibitors that are preventing you from achieving the goals and objectives you already set. In this section, you will determine the inhibitors and the risks your brand is exposed to. At the same time, you will also need to include what effects these inhibitors and risks will cause your brand, how they can affect your growth, sales, etc.

3. Vision/Purpose/Goals

This section will contain of the branding plan contains the vision you have for the brand. You can only plan out the strategies you want to apply if you have a good reason behind it. In this case, the vision you have for your brand is basically where you want your brand to be after a certain period of time. You have to clearly define the purpose of your brand so that it will be easier for you to make a plan. In addition to that, you can also set measurable goals or objectives that will be what drives your plans as well as your strategies.

4. Strategies

In your branding plan, it is essential to include specific strategies and tactics, mostly marketing related, that you need to do in order to achieve the vision and goals you have for the brand. However, you need to remember that the strategies that should be included in your brand must be studied and tested. It is important that these strategies have ample data that supports their effectiveness; otherwise, resources will be wasted. In this case, it is important to remember that the strategies you use help you get to where you envisioned your brand to be on a certain period of time.

Since you have already identified and determined the strategies that you need to do in order to achieve you vision and goals, you need to be able to execute them according to the provisions or procedures of the said strategies. The way you execute your plan will be heavily influenced by the strategies you have included; this means that you have to be able to create a bond with your target customers in order to establish your brand’s reputation based on a distinct positioning and influence them to change how they feel, think, and act toward your brand.

In order to know if your efforts have borne the fruit you desire, you need to measure their effectiveness. Depending on how you want to measure your progress and growth as a brand, you need to assess whether there are significant changes brought about your shift in your old branding plan. You can conduct a survey , interviews, and so on in order to gather data you can measure and compare to your previous progress or growth. Measuring your progress will help you determine whether the strategies you have in place have been working or not.

Strategic Questions to Answer When Making a Branding Plan

In order to make an effective branding plan, you need to be aware of certain aspects and factors in your brand that can affect your overall growth. You need to know the current status and be aware with the current situation your brand is currently at. This will help you make better choices and make better decisions in order to help your brand grow even more or maybe penetrate new market, whatever you purpose may be. With that in mind, here are strategic questions you can use as guide when making a branding plan:

1. Where could we be?

This question refers to the vision/purpose/goals you have for your brand. You need to know and determine what you want to achieve in order to make moves that will help you get there. In order to answer this question effectively, you need to assess where you currently are and envision where you want your brand to go. In addition to that, you need to set a practical timeline of when you want achieve your goals. Doing this will ensure you set goals that are achievable and measurable. Answering this question will help you put specific vision and/or goals in your branding plan.

2. Where are we?

This pertains to your current situation. A thorough situational analysis will help you understand and be aware of where you are at in terms of growth and progress. When you started your brand you have already set goals and visions you need to achieve within a period of time, that will help you assess your current situation. In this case, you need to determine what has driven your brand to continue until such day, what inhibitors have prevented you to do certain things, the risks you have faced and may arise, and the opportunities you have yet to dive into.

3. Why are we here?

In order to answer this question, you need to figure out your current competitive position, the main strength your brand has, the connection your customers have with your brand, and the current business situation that your brand is facing. If you have figured out the mentioned aspects, you will have a better picture of why your brand is currently in the position it is now. Since you are aware of your current situation, you should also be aware why you are there. Figure out why you have grown so much from your first few months or why you have shown little progress so far.

4. How can we get there?

This is where your strategies and tactics come into the picture. However, in order to come up with suitable strategies, you need to think back to your vision. Your strategies will highly depend on the numbers, progress, etc. you want to achieve. You need to make sure that your strategies will help you pursue and get to the point where you want your brand to be; otherwise, the plan will have to be subjected to major improvements and changes. In addition to this, make sure that the strategies you use have been tested out prior to it being included in your branding plan.

5. What do we need to do?

This question is related to the fourth question. In order to accurately answer this question, you need to determine how to properly execute your strategies. This is where the testing of strategies comes in hand since it will give you of an overview of how the strategy can be effective, which means the most effective execution of such strategies have also been tested out. It is important to remember that although you tested the strategies, the market continuously changes and you need you make decisions to help you adapt. In addition to the strategies, how to measure their effectiveness as well as your overall progress should be included.

A branding plan is an essential document that will help you establish a connection with your customers. It can either make or break you brand. With that in mind, it is why it is important to study your market and plan accordingly. Although a branding plan will serve as your guide as you establish your brand in the market, make sure you are able to adapt to changes along the way. We hope you find the topics discussed in this article informative and useful.

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Paintball Business Plan Template

Published Apr.09, 2018

Updated Apr.23, 2024

By: Jakub Babkins

Average rating 4.3 / 5. Vote count: 3

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Paintball Business Plan

Table of Content

Do you want to start paintball business?

Are you thinking of how to start paintball business ? You can never go wrong with this venture considering paintball is now a popular sport not only the United States but across the entire globe. In the U.S alone, there are over 5 million active paintball fans who invest heavily in the equipment and attire. In addition, the increasing number of professional tournaments and leagues has increased the demand for modern paintball facilities. There are also numerous exciting activities associated with paintball and opening a paintball business will reward you with good profits so long as you carefully plan your business setup strategy .

Executive Summary

2.1 the business.

The paintball business will be known as ZonerB Paintball and will be located off Exit 3 in Brookside, Kansas City. This is an excellent population that serves a large population of residents making it an ideal sport to open the business. ZonerB is a family business that will be owned and managed by Phil Richards who is a Professional Paintball Instructor.

2.2 Management Team

Phil Richards is an accomplished paintball instructor who has been actively working in the industry for over fifteen years. During his career, Phil has managed several popular paintball facilities. He is a familiar and well respected instructor who has been deeply involved in the region’s paintball events. He was a league commissioner in several tournaments around the country.

2.3 Customer Focus

ZonerB Paintball aims to offer an exciting, relaxing and social atmosphere for clients. In planning how to start a paintball business , ZonerB is keen to provide a well-equipped and friendly facility for its customers.

2.4 Business Target

The business hopes to focus on investing in a modern and impressive paintball facility that will offer diverse fun activities that will keep everyone entertained.

Paintball Business Plan - 3 Years Profit Forecast

Company Summary

3.1 company owner.

Phil Richards is a well-respected paintball instructor who has worked with several teams to clinch various awards and championships. During his career as an instructor and manager of several paintball facilities, Phil acquired first-hand experience in paintball business, something he hopes to replicate when opening a paintball field .

3.2 Aim of Starting the Business

The paintball culture has increased in the recent times inspiring Phil to go ahead with his plan of setting a nice, modern and well equipped paintball facility that meets the needs of paintball lovers. Despite Brookside having many paintball businesses, the rising popularity of the game has created numerous opportunities for ZonerB to explore.

3.3 How the Business will be Started

To make ZonerB a trendsetter paintball facility in Brookside, Kansas City, Phil Richards has hired professionals with vast knowledge in business startups to come up with a financial roadmap to meet business goals. Key financial data is indicated in the table below.

Paintball Business Plan - Startup coast

Services for Customers

ZonerB has invested heavily in modern equipment and technologies to grow the paintball culture in Kansas City. In order to start a paintball business that brings good profits, Phil Richards has decided to be innovative and diversify his range of services offered at the paintball facility. Services offered at ZonerB include:

  • Indoor and outdoor paintball courts
  • Provision of paintball ammunition and gear
  • Fully equipped Go Kart facility
  • Restaurant and dining business

With all these services, ZonerB has found a unique way to cater for needs of different clientele.

Marketing Analysis for Paintball Business

For ZonerB to accomplish its business goals, a detailed market analysis was carried out to identify what areas need to be focused on to successfully conquer the marketplace. Good paintball business plans have an elaborate marketing strategy that is designed with in line with the current market trends. The paintball business hopes to use this strategy to outshine its competitors and secure a large customer base.

5.1 Market Segmentation

After studying the paintball culture in Kansas City and doing an extensive market analysis, ZonerB intends to reach out to the following groups of customers. It’s worth noting that potential clients in this case are anyone interested in paintball games.

Paintball Business Plan - Market Segmentation

5.1.1 Under 18 years

Paintball is an exciting game that attracts large masses of young people. For this reason, this is a key customer group the business intends to reach out. A large section of the local population consists of teenagers and young children thus presenting an excellent opportunity for ZonerB to market its services. Despite many similar established businesses in the area, Phil Richards knows the appetite for paintball especially among this age group keeps growing. In addition, a large section of under 18 year olds are still in schools which play a huge role in popularizing paintball across the city.

5.1.2 19-64 Year olds

Many residents who fall in this age group belong to the working class and therefore, earn a steady income. Given the large middle class population, these residents can afford to buy paintball ammunition and attire required for an exciting gaming experience. The business hopes to sell various services and packages to this customer segment bearing in mind they have a disposable income that allows them to spend on numerous entertainment activities. After opening a paintball field business , this group of customers is expected to frequent the paintball club to have fun and unwind.

5.1.3 Over 65 Year Olds

This category caters for senior citizens who have retired from an active career life but are looking for something exciting to keep them busy. With paintball increasingly becoming popular, seniors have also been attracted to the game. They’re an extremely sensitive group and require good customer care and help to feel comfortable within the business premises.

5.1.4 Corporates

Because of the growing interest in paintball, corporates have joined the bandwagon by regularly organizing staff paintball fun days. In addition, there are numerous paintball tournaments and competitions where various corporate teams drawn from various companies participate. This is a lucrative market segment because a single corporate booking is guaranteed to generate the business good income.

5.1.5 Professional Paintball Stakeholders

ZonerB paintball field business plan also aims to target to professional paintball teams and league organizers looking for a venue to use for tournaments. Given the number of many venues across Kansas, the business has an uphill task of positioning itself strategically to reach out to this market.

5.2 Business Target

ZonerB comes into the market when paintball popularity is at its peak. This is a strategic time considering starting a paintball business when there’s so much hype about the game is smart and strategic. Innovativeness is the major driving factor for the business as it seeks to use a unique business model and customer approach to distinguish itself from competitors. It is expected the paintball will be able to recover its capital within the first three years of operation. Annual sales are expected to grow on an average of 15%.

5.3 Product Pricing

How much does it cost to start a paintball business and how do I recover my startup capital? To accurately determine whether a business will be able recover the initial, product pricing is a key component that needs to be well defined. Just like other paintball business plans , ZonerB understands it has to get the pricing right to be able to survive competition. The plan is to diversify pricing using different packages to ensure all customer groups are adequately catered for. Pricing will be arrived at after considering what other paintball businesses are charging their clients. The idea is to charge slightly less than competitors especially in the first few months to popularize the brand and win customer trust.

The success of a business is not only how to start a paintball business but which strategies are put in place to ensure business goals are realized. Phil Richards has worked closely with experts in business strategy to come up with a sustainable and result-oriented approach of consistently growing customer numbers and boost revenue. The following sales strategy has been adopted to help steer the business to positive growth.

6.1 Competitive Analysis

ZonerB Paintball field knows customer care and professionalism are the core values of success when starting a paintball field . The business intends to hire well trained and professional staff with hands-on skills to deal with various customers. In addition, the paintball field’s strategic location and nearness to public transport facilities is expected to bring in more customers.

6.2 Sales Strategy

In order for the paintball business to attract more customers to the facility, the following sales strategy will be rolled out.

  • Engage in intensive marketing campaigns to create awareness for people looking for a nice and well equipped paintball field.
  • Sponsor college league and weekly youth championships to reach out to the youths.
  • Advertise the business on popular local media channels and incorporate digital media i.e. social media and paid local online adverts.
  • Create advertising campaigns in locations such as local universities since they bring together a large number of potential customers.
  • Invest in the latest state-of-the art equipment and technologies to improve customer experience
  • Creatively design the paintball field with an attractive landscape and exciting colors to draw attention to the facility.
  • Emphasize on exemplary customer service and ensure customer needs are well taken care of.

6.3 Sales Forecast

ZonerB is committed to fully implement the above defined sales strategies and keep a close eye on its financial books to increase annual sales. The information below summarizes sales forecasts for ZonerB Paintball business.

Paintball Business Plan - Unit Sales

Personnel Plan

ZonerB is a large paintball field that requires staff with different expertise to work together and facilitate smooth operations of the business. For Phil Richards and anyone else planning how to start a paintball field , the following staff is key to run the business.

7.1 Personnel Plan

ZonerB Paintball field is owned by Phil Richards, an experienced Paintball Instructor who will be the overall manager of the business. The business will also employ the following professionals to work in various departments.

  • One Assistant Manager
  • One Accountant
  • One League Coordinator
  • One Customer Care Representative
  • Two Marketing Executives
  • Two Cleaners
  • One Safety Inspector
  • One Concession Person
  • Two Referees

Successful candidates will undergo extensive training on various areas of focus associated with a paintball field before the business officially opens.

7.2 Average Staff Salaries

In the first three years of operations, ZonerB Paintball field intends to pay its personnel the following annual average salaries.

Financial Plan

ZonerB has a comprehensive financial plan that is expected to guide business management. Starting paintball field requires an elaborate financial plan to help the business meet its financial obligations and run its operations. Initial capital will be supplemented by a bank loan to help kickstart operations. The following is a summary of various financial statistics for ZonerB Paintball business. This is key information for anyone planning to open a paintball field business.

8.1 Important Assumptions

ZonerB has computed its financial expectations based on the assumptions below.

8.2 Brake-even Analysis

The graph below indicated ZonerB Paintball business Brake-even Analysis.

Paintball Business Plan - Brake-even Analysis

8.3 Projected Profit and Loss

Below is Profit and Loss information for ZonerB Paintball field determined on a monthly and annual basis.

8.3.1 Monthly Profit

Paintball Business Plan - PROFIT MONTHLY

8.3.2 Yearly Profit

Paintball Business Plan - PROFIT YEARLY

8.3.3 Monthly Gross Margin

Paintball Business Plan - GROSS MARGIN MONTHLY

8.3.4 Yearly Gross Margin

Below is a Profit and Loss Analysis for the business.

Paintball Business Plan - GROSS MARGIN YEARLY

8.4 Projected Cash Flow

The diagram below indicates subtotal cash received, subtotal cash spent, subtotal cash spent on operations, subtotal cash from operations and Pro forma cash flow.

Paintball Business Plan - Projected Cash Flow

8.5 Projected Balance Sheet

Below is ZonerB Projected balance sheet indicating assets, liabilities, capital, current liabilities and long-term assets.

8.6 Business Ratios

This is a representation of Business Ratios, Ratio Analysis and business Net Worth for ZonerB Paintball business.

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  1. Merchandising Plan Template

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  2. What Is Merchandising Business and How to Operate One

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  3. Free Business Plan Templates for Startups & Businesses

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  4. Flow Chart Of Merchandising Task

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  1. How to Build a Merchandise Plan with Retail Pro Planning

  2. Merchandise Planning Process: Make a Retail Plan in 10 Mins

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  6. FABM_Accounting for Merchandising Business (Part 1)

COMMENTS

  1. How To Start a Merchandise Business: A Step-by-Step Guide

    Supplier interest. Merchandising depends on having solid suppliers. Your business plan might influence whether they choose to engage with you. 3. Decide on a brand name. A brand name captures your business's qualities and values in one or two words. It can be the same as or different from your business name.

  2. Crafting Success: The Ultimate General Merchandise Business Plan

    A general merchandise business, also known as a big-box store, is a retail establishment that offers a diverse range of products in one location. These stores typically carry a wide variety of items, including groceries, household goods, clothing, electronics, and more. The extensive selection of products makes general merchandise stores ...

  3. How to create an Effective Merchandising Plan

    An effective merchandising plan can help you: Increase sales by creating a visually appealing shopping experience that encourages customers to buy more. Manage inventory effectively by highlighting products that are popular and in demand. Build brand awareness by showcasing products in a way that reflects your brand values and image.

  4. T-Shirt Business Plan Template & Step-by-Step Guide (2024)

    In the US, online t-shirt business revenue share will overtake offline sales and will account for 50.7% of the market revenue in 2024. The volume of children's t-shirts market sold is predicted to reach 0.5 billion pieces by 2027; an expected volume growth of 3.0% in 2024.

  5. The Complete Guide to Retail Merchandising

    Retail merchandising is subtle. When customers walk into the store, they don't consciously think about the sensory experience. Rather, the colors, sounds, smells, temperature, and the way the merchandise feels combine to deliver an experience to the customer psyche that they may not even realize. Retail merchandising is an art and science.

  6. How to Build a Detailed Business Plan That Stands Out [Free Template]

    This is why crafting a business plan is an essential step in the entrepreneurial process. In this post, we'll walk you through the process of filling out your business plan template, like this free, editable version: Download a free, editable one-page business plan template. We know that when looking at a blank page on a laptop screen, the idea ...

  7. How to Write a Business Plan: Guide + Examples

    Most business plans also include financial forecasts for the future. These set sales goals, budget for expenses, and predict profits and cash flow. A good business plan is much more than just a document that you write once and forget about. It's also a guide that helps you outline and achieve your goals. After completing your plan, you can ...

  8. How to Write a Business Plan in 9 Steps (+ Template and Examples)

    1. Create Your Executive Summary. The executive summary is a snapshot of your business or a high-level overview of your business purposes and plans. Although the executive summary is the first section in your business plan, most people write it last. The length of the executive summary is not more than two pages.

  9. Merchandising Plan Template

    Sample Merchandising Plan. A simple merchandising plan is provided on the spreadsheet e. This spreadsheet is "live", enabling you to test it using your own products and numbers. ... their financial impact on your entire business and the marketing plans you will need to support sales. On the one hand, being in stock with the right items is ...

  10. Clothing Boutique Business Plan Template [Updated for 2024]

    The average initial cost of opening a store can be anywhere from $48,000 USD to $150,000 USD, and this figure doesn't include an upfront payment of first month's rent or utilities. Having an accurate idea of your initial cost—and, as such, how much funding you need—is one of the key benefits of a thorough boutique business plan.

  11. 24 of My Favorite Sample Business Plans & Examples For Your Inspiration

    8. Panda Doc's Free Business Plan Template. PandaDoc's free business plan template is one of the more detailed and fleshed-out sample business plans on this list. It describes what you should include in each section, so you don't have to come up with everything from scratch.

  12. 8 Business Plan Templates You Can Get for Free

    The rest, while still useful, go a bit lighter on guidance in favor of tailoring the plan to a specific industry. Explore: PandaDoc's business plan template library. 5. Canva — Pitch with your plan. Canva is a great option for building a visually stunning business plan that can be used as a pitch tool.

  13. How To Write A Business Plan (2024 Guide)

    Describe Your Services or Products. The business plan should have a section that explains the services or products that you're offering. This is the part where you can also describe how they fit ...

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    The business model canvas is a one-page template designed to demystify the business planning process. It removes the need for a traditional, copy-heavy business plan, in favor of a single-page outline that can help you and outside parties better explore your business idea. The structure ditches a linear format in favor of a cell-based template.

  15. What is a Marketing Plan & How to Write One [+Examples]

    A marketing plan is a strategic document that outlines marketing objectives, strategies, and tactics. A business plan is also a strategic document. But this plan covers all aspects of a company's operations, including finance, operations, and more. It can also help your business decide how to distribute resources and make decisions as your ...

  16. Fruit & Vegetable Store Business Plan Example (Free)

    A free example of business plan for a fruit and vegetable store. Here, we will provide a concise and illustrative example of a business plan for a specific project. This example aims to provide an overview of the essential components of a business plan. It is important to note that this version is only a summary.

  17. Create a Marketing Plan [+20 Free Templates]

    Edit and Download. Remember to create SMART goals for your marketing plan and strategy. SMART goals are Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-Bound. In the template above, notice how the target is defined as a percentage. You can also add a deadline to your marketing goal to make it time-bound.

  18. 7 Examples of Marketing Plan and Why They Work

    1. Visit Baton Rouge. Baton Rouge positions itself as "An Authentic Louisiana Experience" by fostering a rebirth of local passion and enthusiasm. From a detailed SWOT analysis to a well-defined target audience, there are plenty of takeaways you can apply to your marketing plan. 2. University of Illinois.

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  20. Branding Plan

    At the same time, you will also need to include what effects these inhibitors and risks will cause your brand, how they can affect your growth, sales, etc. 3. Vision/Purpose/Goals. This section will contain of the branding plan contains the vision you have for the brand.

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    Learn to create effective marketing strategies while studying how packaging, advertising, ... Degree Plan Sample . Academic Standing . ... College of Business & Economics University of Idaho 875 Perimeter Drive MS 3161 Moscow, ID 83844-3161. Phone: 208-885-6478 ...

  22. Paintball Business Plan Template [Update 2024]

    5.2 Business Target. ZonerB comes into the market when paintball popularity is at its peak. This is a strategic time considering starting a paintball business when there's so much hype about the game is smart and strategic. Innovativeness is the major driving factor for the business as it seeks to use a unique business model and customer approach to distinguish itself from competitors.

  23. Local Business News

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  24. How To Write a Retail Merchandiser Cover Letter (With Examples)

    Retail merchandiser cover letter example To assist you in understanding the structure and content of cover letters, below is a sample cover letter for a retail merchandiser: Chuck Ferris Chicago, Illinois 304-555-0192 [email protected] March 14, 2024 Mr. Bob Richardson Wavewood Retailers Dear Bob Richardson, I am writing to express my interest in the retail merchandiser position listed on ...

  25. Microsoft May 2024 events

    New agent capabilities in Microsoft Copilot unlock business value ... Consumer chief marketing officer, Microsoft, on stage May 20, 2024, at an event in Redmond, Washington. (Photo by Dan DeLong for Microsoft) Web Print. Yusuf Mehdi, executive vice president, Consumer chief marketing officer, Microsoft, on stage May 20, 2024, at an event in ...